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UNITED ST A TES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II 



China— Burma— India Theater 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

by 

Charles F. Roman us 
and 

Riley Sunderland 




CENTER OF MILITARY HJSTOR Y 
UNITED STA TES ARMY 
WASHINGTON, D.C., 1999 



Library of Congress Gitalog Card Number; 59-60003 



Ft rsi Primed 1959—CMH Pub 9-3 



Fw *&te by tJit U.S. Government Priniinic Qffit* 
Snpennt«rtienl it Document*. Mail Stop: SSGI' Washington, DC 5KM0£-!*tZH 



to Those Who Served 



Foreword 



This volume, third of a subseries, carries the story of the Army's 
anomalous mission in China-Burma-India from the recall of General 
Stilwell in October 1944 to V-J Day. It deals with problems at all levels 
from platoon to theater, from tactics to diplomacy. The postwar concern 
of the Army with military assistance gives a special interest to the military 
advisory system that General Wedemeyer developed in the China theater to 
strengthen and guide the forces of Chiang Kai-shek. Stopping with the end 
of the war against Japan, Time Runs Out in CBI necessarily leaves the 
Wedemeyer story incomplete. But the authors' utilization of hitherto unused 
Army sources throws a light on the China tangle that should make this book 
useful to makers of policy, as well as interesting to readers of the history 
of our times. 



Washington, D. C 
25 April 1958 



RICHARD W. STEPHENS 

Maj. Gen., U.S.A. 

Chief of Military History 



v 



The Authors 



From 1946 to 1953 the authors formed the CBI Section of the staff 
engaged in writing the history of the U.S. Army in World War II. 

Charles F. Romanus received the degree of Master of Arts in History 
at the University of Illinois in 1937 and pursued his work for the doctorate 
at Louisiana State University, where he was a teaching fellow in history. 
Entering the Army in 1943 he was commissioned in March 1945 an< ^ became 
a historical officer in the headquarters of the China Theater. He is now Chief 
of the Organizational History and Honors Branch of the Office, Chief of 
Military History. 

Riley Sunderland graduated from the University of Chicago in 1937. In 
April 1942 he was called to active duty as a second lieutenant in the Field 
Artillery, and from July 1945 to May 1946 was in the Historical Section, 
Headquarters, India-Burma Theater, in New Delhi. After leaving OCMH 
in 1955, he entered the field of operations research and is now studying 
mathematics at The George Washington University, Washington, D. C. 



VI 



Preface 



The history of China, Burma, and India, as U.S. theaters of operations 
in World War II, ended as it began. As in 1942, so in 1945 the Americans 
in China were still attempting to improve the Chinese Army so that China 
might be a more effective partner in the United Nations war against Japan. 
Other Americans in India and Burma were making an effort to fly supplies 
to their American and Chinese comrades and to help drive the Japanese 
from North Burma so that still more supplies might go to China by road 
and pipeline. 

The volume begins with the division of the China-Burma-India Theater 
into the India-Burma and China Theaters in October 1944 and ends with a 
Japanese surrender that cut across the accelerating Sino-American prepara- 
tions in China. The scope of this subseries has required covering both of 
the successor theaters of CBI in a single volume. Though an effort has been 
made to do justice to the India-Burma Theater, its mission of supporting 
the China Theater dictated subordinating the account of its activities to the 
story of the latter theater. Perhaps the most significant story told in this 
volume describes the efforts of Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer and his staff 
to create an effective system for Sino-American co-operation in building a 
better Chinese Army. 

This volume is the last of a three-volume subseries that describes a con- 
tinuing flow of events and the space given to the several topics treated within 
reflects that fact. The authors have tried to make the volume reasonably 
complete within itself, yet the perspective in which events have appeared 
to them will emerge more clearly if viewed in the light of the first two 
volumes. 

Like its predecessors, the present volume is written at the level of theater 
headquarters in the India-Burma and China Theaters. The emphasis is on 
the over-all roles of the organizations comprised in the Army Ground Forces 
and the Army Service Forces. The authors have not attempted to duplicate 
the efforts of the U.S. Air Force in presenting its own story of air operations 
in China, Burma, and India, or of the several technical services in telling 
their histories. Moreover, the other nations that took part in the closing 
phases of World War II in the Pacific must perforce be left to tell their 
own stories from their own records. 



Vll 



The authors were greatly aided by the privilege of examining that portion 
of the papers of Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, U.S.A., Ret., which relates to 
his services in China. Since General Hurley was Presidential representative 
and then Ambassador to China in 1944 and 1945, his papers are essential to 
any serious study of the period. The personal notebook and private papers 
of Brig. Gen. Ernest F. Easterbrook gave an interesting and helpful glimpse 
of Burma operations through the eyes of an infantry regimental commander. 

General Wedemeyer, with Brig. Gen. Paul Caraway, Col. B. F. Taylor, 
and Mr. William MacAfee, offered their recollections in the form of detailed 
critiques of the draft manuscript. The critiques are valuable, representing as 
they do the reactions of the sometime China Theater commander, one of his 
principal planners, the secretary of his general staff, and his aide. The former 
Chief of Staff, China Theater, Maj. Gen. Robert B. McClure, also commented 
at considerable length on the draft manuscript. The comments of other 
participants who read the manuscript formed a rich and varied source of 
material. 

Among the authors' professional colleagues, grateful acknowledgment 
is due Brigadier Michael R. Roberts, D.S.O., of the Cabinet Office Historical 
Section. Brigadier Roberts examined the account of British operations from 
the standpoint of a skilled soldier and accomplished author. Our task would 
have been impossible without the generous help of many archivists in the 
Departmental Records Branch, The Adjutant General's Office, and in the 
General Reference Office of the Office, Chief of Military History. 

The distinguished maps in all three volumes of the subseries were pre- 
pared under the supervision of Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, Deputy Chief 
Historian for Cartography. 

We wish to record our appreciation of the pains taken by our editor and 
copy editor to bring this book to print. Miss Ruth Stout, who edited the first 
and second volumes of this subseries and who over the years has become 
identified as much with the entire subseries as have the authors, is due our 
special thanks and gratitude. We also acknowledge a particular debt of 
gratitude to Mrs. Gay Morenus Hammerman, the copy editor. Mrs. Norma 
B. Sherris selected and captioned the photographs for this volume. The 
index was prepared by Mrs. Michael Burdett Miller. Mrs. Mitzi Bucan 
Rusmisel, our stenographer, gave us invaluable aid in the preparation of the 
manuscript. 

The authors assume sole responsibility for the use made of the comments 
and criticism offered by participants and for any errors of fact or interpreta- 
tion of the sources open to them. 

Washington, D. C. CHARLES F. ROMANUS 

25 April 1958 RILEY SUNDERLAND 



Vlll 



Contents 

PART ONE 

Opening the Road to China 

Chapter Page 

I. NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 3 

The Political and Economic Scene in China 7 

Wedemeyer's Missions and Roles 14 

The U.S. Command Structure in China Theater 19 

The U.S. Projects in China 24 

Sultan's Task 29 

The American Effort in India and Burma 33 

The SOS in India, Fall 1944 36 

Supply Activities in India 40 

Lend-Lease to China 43 

II. WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 46 

Japanese Plans in American Eyes 46 

The Japanese Side of the Hill 49 

Wedemeyer's Reactions to the Chinese Scene 51 

The Japanese Begin To Threaten 55 

ALPHA: Beginning an Attempt To Save 56 

Chinese Reactions to ALPHA 61 

Strengthening the Chinese Forces 64 

Filling the Gaps in the Chinese Divisions 66 

Plans To Break the Transport Bottleneck 67 

Attempts To Arm Hsueh Yueh 71 

Plans To Use the Chinese Communists 72 

III. BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA . . 77 

The Situation at the Front 77 

Planning the First Directive 81 

Events Cancel the Attack on Rangoon 85 

Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia 87 

NCAC Prepares To Resume Operations 89 

Logistical Support 96 

Japanese Plans and Preparations 98 

Reopening the Fight 101 

The Attack in the Center 106 

Fighting Around Tonkwa 110 



IX 



Chapter Page 

IV. BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 114 

NCAC Drives Toward China 114 

Attack on Bhamo 118 

Last Days of the Burma Blockade 123 

The End of the Salween Campaign 130 

O Pening the Ledo Road 1 36 

V. THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 142 

Wedemeyer Asks Help From SEAC 142 

Reaching a Decision 145 

Moving Reinforcements to China 147 

Attempts To Reinforce the Kweiyang Area 150 

Wedemeyer Reshapes His Organization 155 

Moving Toward Better Co-ordination 158 

The Japanese Menace at Its Height 164 

Wedemeyer' s Views on China's Problems 165 

Cherry Blossom and Sea Wind 169 

The Fourteenth Air Force Versus the Japanese 170 

The Suichuan Operation 176 



PART TWO 
Plans and Preparations for Opening a Port in China 



VI. THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 183 

Marsmen Prepare for Battle 183 

Over the Hills and Through the Woods 186 

Harassing Japanese Traffic 190 

The Block Disapproved 199 

VII. VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA .... 206 

MARS' s Last Fight 206 

Clearing Loi-kang Ridge 209 

From Combat to Administration 211 

The British 36th Division Wins Its Hardest Fight 214 

The Burma Campaign Moves Toward a Climax 217 

Slim Wins the Decisive Battle 220 

Reinforcements for China Theater 223 

Lashio and the Reinforcement Problem 226 



x 



Chapter Page 

VIII. FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 231 

Making Liaison Effective 231 

Working Out the T hirty-six-Division Plan 238 

Food for the ALPHA Soldiers 241 

Carrying Out the Food Program 244 

Problems and Accomplishments of the Food Program .... 246 

The Student Volunteers 247 

No Arms for the Chinese Communists 249 

Conducting a Straightforward Show 254 

The Problem of French Indochina 259 

IX. MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 262 

The Thirty-six Divisions Take Form 262 

Eastern Command's Work Interrupted 269 

The American Share in the Chthchiang Campaign 276 

The Test Successfully Passed 285 

X. ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 291 

A Unified Command Structure 291 

Personnel Management Problems 294 

Social Problems 297 

Preventive Medicine 301 

Reciprocal Aid and Lend-Lease to India 303 

Supply Policies for China Theater Projects 306 

Ports, Pipelines, and Railroads 309 

Operating the Line of Communications to China 313 

The Line of Communications Reappraised 318 

Transferring Support From SEAC to China 321 

The Last Battles in Burma 325 

XI. PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 330 

Plan BETA 330 

Wedemeyer's Visit to Washington 336 

Logistical Obstacles to BETA 340 

SOS Problems and China Operations 346 

The Japanese Save RASHNESS 349 

The Drive to the Sea Moves Off Dead Center 353 

New Commanders for CARBONADO 356 

Preparations To Open a Seaport 360 

Problems of the Ground Line of Communications 363 

Logistical Problems of Fort Bayard 366 



XI 



Chapter Page 

XII. THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 368 

The Chinese Army, Summer 1945 368 

The School System of the Chinese Training Center 373 

Helping the Chinese SOS 378 

The Communist Problem Emerges Again 381 

The Chinese Reoccupy Their Land 386 

What Are the Problems of a Sudden Peace? 388 

Events in the Pacific Overtake CARBONADO 392 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 397 

GLOSSARY 402 

BASIC MILITARY MAP SYMBOLS 405 

INDEX 409 

Charts 

No. 

1. Tonnage Supplied to China From India-Burma: 

October 1944-September 1945 14 

2. Organization of U.S. Forces, China Theater: 

January 1945 20 

3. Allied Chain of Command: November 1944 30 

4. Chinese Alpha Forces: 36-Division Force 237 

5. Sino- American Liaison System (Schematic) 263 

Tables 

1. Tonnages Delivered by India-China Division, ATC 40 

2. Comparison of Japanese and Chinese Division Firepower 232 

3. U.S. Troop Strengths, China Theater: 1945 258 

4. Vehicle and Cargo Deliveries to China and Burma by Months: 1945 . . 317 

5. Gasoline Deliveries by Pipeline to China 318 

6. Division Training Status: 5 August 1945 372 

7. Chinese Order of Battle: 31 August 1945 382 

xii 



Maps 



No. Page 

1. India-Burma Theater, 1944-1945 7 

2. China-Burma-India Line of Communications, July 1945 35 

3. Situation in China, October 1944 48 

4. The Alpha Plan, November 1944 59 

5. Disposition of Forces, 15 October 1944 76 

6. North Burma Operations, 15 October-31 December 1944 .... 101 

7. Opening the Road to China 124 

8. End of the Salween Campaign, 3 November 1944-27 January 1945 . 132 

9. The Suichuan Operation, January 1945 177 

10. Securing the Burma Road, January-March 1945 183 

11. The Mars Force, 19 January 1945 191 

12. Offensive of British Fourteenth Army, 12 December 1944-3 May 1945 . 217 

13. The Chihchiang Campaign, 8 April-7 June 1945 271 



Illustrations 



Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer Arriving at Chungking 5 

Terrain in the Kunming Area 11 

C-46 of the Air Transport Command 13 

Ancient Chinese Villager 17 

Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault 22 

Kunming Airfield 24 

India-Based B-29's 25 

Y-Force Officers 29 

Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan 31 

Loading River Boats 36 

Loading Boxcars 37 

Bulldozer in Operation South of Myitkyina 39 

Jorhat Airfield 42 

Nationalist Chinese Soldiers 53 

Chinese Refugees Evacuating Liuchow 55 

General Dorn 61 

Lux Convoy 69 

Col. David D. Barrett 73 

Tank Farm at Myitkyina 78 

Second Quebec Conference 83 

xiii 



Page 



Bivouac Area of the 475th Infantry 95 

Jeep Train on a Narrow-Gauge Line 99 

Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing and General Sultan 103 

British Casualties 106 

Pack Artillery Troops 107 

Field Conference at Sikaw, Burma in 

Christmas Day at Tonkwa 112 

General Sultan and General Sun Li-jen 117 

Front-Line Position 121 

Burmese Idol in Namhkam I2 8 

Two Soldiers 1^9 

Ponton Bridge Over the Irrawaddy River 137 

Chinese Coolies Leveling a Roadbed 139 

Chinese 2 2d Division Troops 149 

Chinese- American Staff Conference 153 

B— 29's Head for Rangoon 160 

General Wedemeyer Visits Western Command Headquarters 163 

Fourteenth Air Force B-24 172 

Mule Skinners and Pack Animals 185 

Bamboo Bridge Over the Shweli River 188 

Marsmen Cut Cross-Country 193 

Marsmen on Loi-Kang Ridge 196 

Japanese Truck and Tankette 197 

Mortar Squad, 124th Cavalry 201 

An 8 1 -mm. Mortar Crew 205 

Silver Rupees for Battle Damage 213 

Allied Leaders Plan Operations 224 

Men of the 988th Signal Battalion 229 

Chinese Senior Officers 234 

Chinese Artillerymen 239 

The Honorable Patrick J. Hurley 250 

Chinese Mechanics Reassembling Lend-Lease Jeep 256 

Chinese Hostel at an American Air Base 257 

Col. Emerick Kutschko 265 

Col. Woods King 272 

Eastern Command Headquarters Conference 277 

Chinese New Sixth Army Troops 280 

Chinese Boatmen 284 

Waiting at Chenyi Airfield 288 

P— 5i's Moving Through the Streets of Karachi 292 

Army Air Force Fuel Dump at Assam 312 

Brig. Gen. Haydon L. Boatner 315 



xiv 



Page 

American Officers, OSS Detachment 101 326 

Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler 328 

Meeting at Yalta 331 

Soldiers on a Troop Train 341 

Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson 344 

General Tang En-Po 354 

The Generalissimo Honors General Chennault 358 

Kwangsi Command Headquarters 361 

Chinese Army Replacements 370 

New Chinese Soldiers 371 

Demolitions Class on a Bridge 376 

Maj. Gen. Henry S. Aurand 379 

Liuchow Airstrip 388 

Returning to Liuchow 389 

Illustrations are from 
Department of Defense files. 



xv 



PART ONE 
OPENING THE ROAD TO CHINA 



CHAPTER I 



New Commanders in a Split Theater 

As in January 1942, so again in October 1944, the United States of America 
ordered one of its general officers to act as a chief of staff to Generalissimo 
Chiang Kai-shek, then Supreme Commander of the China Theater in the war 
between the United Nations and Germany, Italy, and Japan. On both oc- 
casions, Japanese successes in the field alarmed the U.S. Government and 
preceded the step. But events had not been static during the intervening 
thirty-four months, and so the two officers concerned, Lt. Gen. Joseph W. 
Stilwell in 1942-1944, and Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer in 1944-1946, faced 
situations whose differences are as enlightening as their similarities. 

The Japanese in December 1941 and January 1942 had overrun American 
and British possessions in the Far East with a speed that appeared to the 
United States to spread gloom and despondency in China and aroused anxiety 
that China might make peace with Japan. On the positive side, the U.S. 
War Department hoped that a revitalized Chinese Army might offer a 
defense of China effective enough to ease pressure on the United States and 
the British Commonwealth in the Pacific. So General Stilwell was sent to 
China to be chief of staff to the Generalissimo in the latter's role as Supreme 
Commander, China Theater; to reassure the Generalissimo of United 
Nations' interest in and support for China; and to carry out the specific added 
mission of improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army. 

After he took up his mission, Stilwell found it difficult to persuade the 
Chinese Government to undertake those steps which he thought essential to 
create a potent Chinese force, such as reducing the number of divisions to a 
total within China's ability to support, bringing the remainder to strength, 
providing them with professionally qualified officers., and giving them the 
bulk of China's arms. StilwelPs task of persuading the Chinese— for he 
could not ord,er them— was complicated by the Japanese seizure of Burma, 
which lent fofce to the argument that China could do nothing for itself until 
its Allies broke the Japanese blockade. Among those who opposed StilwelPs 
plans was Mjaj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, the senior American air officer in 
China, who jDelieved that by stressing reform of the Chinese Army, and de- 



4 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



voting his meager resources to it, Stilwell— with his superiors in the War 
Department— was missing the chance to defeat Japan from the air. Winning 
the support of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and of the Generalissimo, 
Chennault received priority on supplies flown into China by the U.S. Air 
Transport Command. This greatly hindered Stilwell in his efforts to rearm 
and reform 60 Chinese divisions— 5 in India-Burma, 25 in Yunnan (Y-Force), 
and a projected 30 in east China (Z-Force). 

In the winter of 1943^44 the Japanese grew concerned lest the Americans 
base their newly developed long-range bombers in east China and resolved to 
take the airfields there, from which Chennault operated. 1 The Japanese 
offensive opened in April 1944, and as it drove ahead revealed grave weak- 
nesses in the Allied command structure in China. The Generalissimo 
refused to give arms to the Chinese commanders in east China, while some 
of them sought Japanese and American support for a revolt against him. 
General Chennault threw his every resource into supporting the east China 
commanders and later charged Stilwell with ulterior motives when the latter 
would not ship arms to them, in part because of the Generalissimo's injunc- 
tion, in part because of a developing crisis over command. 

Since the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted to give land-based air support 
from east China's airfields to American operations in the western Pacific, they 
were anxious to hold those bases. They believed that if Stilwell took com- 
mand of all forces in China Theater, both Nationalist and Communist, he 
might be able to keep the Japanese from seizing the American airfields in 
China. The President agreed, and from July to September, through his 
special representative, Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, tried to persuade the 
Generalissimo to make Stilwell the field commander in China Theater. 
First in principle agreeing to accept Stilwell, the Generalissimo later reversed 
himself, charged that Stilwell had shown himself unqualified, and asked that 
he be recalled. The President acknowledged Chinese sovereignty in the 
matter and recalled Stilwell, but he refused to accept the Generalissimo's 
request that another American take command of the Chinese forces in China. 

During the last phases of these negotiations, the strategic situation in the 
Pacific altered in a manner that greatly lessened the dependence of the United 
States on Chinese co-operation in the Pacific war. The U.S. Navy decisively 
defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and General 
Douglas MacArthur firmly re-established U.S. power in the Philippines. 
Meanwhile, on 15 October, Marshal Joseph V. Stalin told the American Mili- 
tary Mission to Russia and Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill that the 
Soviet Union would employ sixty divisions against Japan beginning about 

1 For a discussion of the Japanese offensive plan (Operation I CHIGO), see the second vol- 
ume of this subseries, Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, | Stilwell 's Command Pro blems, 
UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1956), pp. 3l6tf. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



5 




Maj. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer Arriving at Chungking, 31 October 1944. 
At the airfield to greet him are, from left: Lt. Gen. Adrian Carton de Wiart, His 
Majesty's Special Representative in Chungking; Mr. T V. Soong, Chinese Minister of 
Foreign Affairs; Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, President Roosevelt's Special Representa- 
tive to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek; Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, Chief of Staff, 
U.S. Army Forces, China Theater; General Wedemeyer, new Commanding General, 
U.S. Army Forces, China Theater, and Chief of Staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek; 
and General Ho Ying-chin, Chief of Staff, Chinese General Staff. 

three months after Germany's defeat. Two days later he described the 
projected operations of those forces as involving a thrust from Lake Baikal 
to Tientsin, thus separating the Japanese forces in Manchuria from those in 
China. Thenceforth, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were aware that whatever 
might happen in China sixty Russian divisions were promised for operations 
against Japan, and these operations would sweep south and east below the 
Great Wall. 2 

Chinese bases were no longer considered essential in the war against 
Japan, but there remained the problems that would be created if the General- 

2 Maj. Gen. John R. Deane, USA, Ret., The Strange Alliance: The Story of Our Efforts at 
Wartime Co-operation with Russia (New York: The Viking Press, 1947), pp. 246-49. 



6 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



issimo's government signed a separate peace, or if Chiang himself were to 
be removed through a coup by pro-Japanese elements that might choose to 
ignore the signs of accelerating disaster in Germany and Japan. Either event 
would raise the possibility that substantial Japanese forces, given a peace in 
China, might be withdrawn to reinforce the Japanese homeland garrison. 

General Wedemeyer, then a major general, was nominated by the Presi- 
dent and accepted by the Generalissimo to be the senior U.S. officer in the 
China Theater, and a chief of staff to the Generalissimo. His orders from 
the War Department and the resources at his disposal were very different 
from those given Stilwell in January 1942, yet his problems as he himself 
saw them were very similar to those which faced Stilwell: U A. Create con- 
ditions for the effective employment of maximum U.S. resources in the 
area. ... B. The Chinese must be required to play an active role in this 
war. . . ." 3 

In late summer of 1944 the War Department, in planning for the new 
situation that would result were General Stilwell to become field commander 
of the Chinese armed forces under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, had con- 
templated splitting the China, Burma and India (CBI) Theater in two. 
Though Stilwell was recalled, such a move still seemed advisable, and Wede- 
meyer assumed command in a separate China Theater on 31 Octo ber 1944, 
Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan in India-Burma on 24 October 1944. 4 {Map 1) 
For a few days, General Chennault, senior American officer in China Theater, 
acted as the first U.S. theater commander. 

While Deputy Chief of Staff, Southeast Asia Command, Wedemeyer had 
had ample opportunity since October 1943 to observe the workings of the 
United Nations effort in Asia from behind the scenes. Before taking up his 
post in Southeast Asia, Wedemeyer had been in the Operations Division, 
War Department General Staff, and so was intimately familiar with the war- 
time plans and policies of the United States. On 29 October 1944, two days 
after his predecessor flew from Karachi to the United States, Wedemeyer left 
the headquarters in Ceylon and flew to Chungking, arriving there 31 October. 3 

Nor was Dan Sultan, as the U.S. Army knew him, a stranger to the 
Asiatic scene, for he had been Stilwell's deputy theater commander. In his 
various peacetime assignments, Sultan had made a name for himself as an 
engineer and administrator, developing talents that would be eminently 
serviceable in his new post. 

' RAD CFB 36841, Wedemeyer to Brig Gen Dougla s L. Weart, DCofS Rr Ech US FCT, 5 
May 45. Item 645, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. | (See Bibliographic al Note. ) | 

4 (1) CM-OUT 51593, JCS to Sultan, 25 Oct 44. (2) History of Services of Supply in 
India-Burma Theater, 1944-45, Vol. I, p. 4. OCMH. (Hereafter, SOS in IBT.) 

5 (1) The Wedemeyer letters in the OPD Exec Files (see Bibliographical Note) describe 
the general's reactions during the time he was Deputy Chief of Staff, Southeast Asia Command. 
(2) History of China Theater, 20-31 Oct 44. OCMH. Initialed by Wedemeyer, 12 Nov 44. 




MAP 1 



8 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The Political and Economic Scene in China 

The political and economic scene that Wedemeyer faced in China Theater 
placed as many obstacles in his path as did the Japanese themselves. Dis- 
sension among the Chinese sharply limited the strength that China would 
devote to facing the Japanese. In north China, the Chinese Communists 
had set up a state within a state that controlled its own territory and had its 
own forces. Its boundaries were indeterminate, its relations with the 
Japanese ambiguous, its finances in part sustained by taxes levied on trade 
with the enemy. But the embryonic Communist state controlled a consider- 
able body of troops, and the Chinese Nationalists feared both its present 
power and its future intentions. 6 Nor were the Nationalists united among 
themselves. When the Japanese drove south from Hankow in the spring 
of 1944, the Chinese troops they faced were those of the local commanders. 
The Generalissimo refused to let arms of any sort, Chinese or U.S. lend- 
lease, be sent to the Chinese defending the airfields. 7 There were many and 
detailed reports that the east China commanders bitterly resented the Gen- 
eralissimo's failure to support them. When Heng-yang fell on 8 August, 
Chinese claiming to be emissaries of these men presented to American 
authority a plan for a separatist regime and pleaded for American support. 
Unknown to the Americans, Chinese making identical representations had 
been negotiating with the Japanese since the winter of 1943-44. Intelligence 
reports were received at U.S. headquarters to the effect that the General- 
issimo's attitude toward the east China campaign reflected an understanding 
between him and the Japanese under which they would leave him un- 
disturbed in southwest China if he in turn would not interfere while they 
took the airfields that presented so obvious a menace to the Japanese 
homeland. 8 

These were grave charges. Supporting them were three relevant circum- 
stances: (1) the Japanese garrisoned their great Hankow supply base, which 

6 (1) Hurley Papers. (2) Capt. Robert L. Bodell, History of Dixie Mission. OCMH. 
(Hereafter, History of Dixie Mission.) (3) The Japanese troop movements which preceded 
the east China campaign of 1944 seem to have been made without Communist interference. 

7 (1) On 4 December 1944 Wedemeyer criticized the poor performance of the Chinese 
forces that had tried to defend the U.S. bases in east China. Unless the interpreter erred 
badly, the Generalissimo replied that those were provincial troops but that now Nationalist 
divisions were going to fight to save Kunming. Min, Mtg 12, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 
4 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes, 1-69, 13 Nov 44-15 Jul 45, Job T-49-20 CBI. 
(Hereafter, Generalissimo Minutes.) (See Bibliographical Note.) (2) For a discussion of the 
Generalissimo's refusal to let arms be sent to the east China commanders, see Stilwell's Com- 
mand Problems \ Ch. XI.~| The ban stayed in effect until February 1945. See Rad CAK 6126. 
Brig Gen Edgar E. Glenn, CofS Fourteenth AF, to Chennault, 22 Feb 45. Item 439, Bks 1 
and 2, ACW Personal File. 

8 (1) Min, Mtg 27, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 10 Jan 45. Item 7, Bk 1, Generalissimo 
Minu tes. ( 2) For an acc ount of the separatist movement in east China to October 1944, see Stil- 
well' sXCommand Problems. I 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



9 



supported their drive in east China, with the equivalent of two divisions, 
though sixty Chinese divisions lay within striking distance; (2) Nationalist 
officers close to the Generalissimo objected to shipment of arms to the Chinese 
forces defending the east China airfields; and (3) the Generalissimo himself 
embargoed shipment of arms to General Hsueh Yueh, principal defender of 
east China, and kept the embargo until February 1945. 9 

In 1951 a group of senior Japanese staff officers of China Expeditionary 
Army were interrogated on the question of Sino-Japanese relations in 1944. 
They denied that there had been any understanding between the Japanese 
and the Chinese Central Government. Two of them, Lt. Cols. Yoshimasa 
Okada and Yoshio Fukuyama, stated that an agreement was reached between 
the Japanese 23d Army at Canton and the local Chinese commander, General 
Yu Han-mou, in February 1944 under which General Yu agreed not to dis- 
turb Canton when the Japanese marched north from it. Yu kept his word, 
according to Okada, even though the Generalissimo was ordering him to 
attack Canton. 

The Japanese officers agreed among themselves that there had been ex- 
tensive contact with dissident Nationalist commanders in southeast China, 
and stated that through many channels they had sought to inform the Chinese 
that the east China drive offered no threat to them, but only to the U.S. 
airfields. 10 

It may be that the truth of this complicated matter lies in the General- 
issimo's appreciating that the Japanese drive was directed toward the east 
China airfields, rather than on Kunming and Chungking, as can be seen by a 
glance at the map. These airfields lay within the domain of Chinese leaders 
whose loyalty to him he doubted. The Generalissimo may not have been 
sorry to see their power diminished and may have felt that there was no need 
to weaken his regime by rushing to their support, the more so since, very 
plainly against his will, he had recently, in April 1944, joined in the North 
Burma Campaign. The reports that reached American headquarters may 
well have been echoes of these matters. 11 

When Wedemeyer took command these issues had yet to be settled. The 
Generalissimo still would not permit shipment of arms to the east China 
commanders, who seemed to at least one senior U.S. officer to be contemplat- 
ing revolt, and it was impossible to tell where the Chinese would make their 

9 ( 1 ) For a discussion of the Japanese-Chinese dispositions in 1944, see [Stilwell's Command 
Problems. The problem of shipping arms to t he east C hina commanders is also discussed there. 
The lifting of the embargo is discussed below, ["Ch, II. | 

10 (1) Ltr and Incls, Lt Col James M. Miller, Exec Officer Mil Hist Sec FECOM, 13 Mar 
52, to Maj Gen Orlando Ward, Chief of Mil Hist. (2) Ltr and Incls, Col Allison R. Hart- 
man, Chief Mil Hist Sec FECOM, to Ward, 19 Dec 51. OCMH. 

11 The comments of Maj Gen Claire L. Chennault and of former Japanese officers on the 
draft manuscript of this volume tend to support this hypothesis, OCMH. 



10 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



stand or where the Japanese would stop. As of late October their leading 
elements were before Kweilin and Liuchow. It would be no mean achieve- 
ment if Wedemeyer could stop the centrifugal tendencies of the Chinese and 
thus deprive the Japanese of the diplomatic triumph that would be theirs 
if China fell into a group of openly warring factions. As for the General- 
issimo, he faced a domestic situation requiring the fullest exercise of his 
diplomatic talents. 

Economic distress within China limited the resources that could be devoted 
to war, put still further strain on the Generalissimo's internal political ar- 
rangements, and placed increasing demands on tonnage flown into China. 
Very simply stated, by fall 1944 the Central Government was growing weaker 
because the Chinese dollar was losing value faster than Chinese fiscal agencies 
could accumulate currency from either the tax gatherer or the printing press. 
In concrete terms, in 1944 the Central Government was buying only one third 
of the goods and services that it bought in 1937. One Chinese authority esti- 
mated that the national budget was but 3 percent of the national income. At 
the same time, the United States was able to devote 47 percent of its national 
income to war. 12 It was therefore advisable that Free China have an army no 
larger than it could support, for every man taken from productive labor meant 
added inflationary pressure, while poverty of the resources at the disposal of the 
Central Government suggested that they should be used with the greatest at- 
tention to thrift and efficiency. However, the Central Government budget did 
not represent the ceiling on China's war-making capacity. The decentralized 
system of command, under which war area commanders acted as semi-inde- 
pendent provincial governors, plus the lack of internal transport facilities 
suited to the movement of quantities of goods and masses of troops, meant 
that the local resources of Kwangsi Province, say, stood behind Kwangsi 
Province divisions, supplemented by whatever subsidies the local authorities 
could obtain from the Central Government. Nevertheless, the national 
budget reflected the resources at the direct command of the Generalissimo 
and limited his power to govern. 

The transportation situation in that part of China unoccupied by the 
Japanese made it very difficult to move goods and people. The U.S. Foreign 
Economic Administration estimated that at most 10,000 trucks were on hand, 
the number in operation at any one time limited by poor maintenance and 
bad fuel. Water transport was the classic resort in China, but unfortunately 
a mountain range lay between the Hump terminus at Kunming and the east 

12 (1) Economic Conditions in Free China and Their Effect on Army Procurement, Jan 45, 
pp. 2-3, prep by Resources Sec. Central Purchasing and Procurement Authority, Hq SOS 
USFCT. OCMH. (Hereafter, Economic Conditions in China.) (2) Statistical Abstract of the 
United States: 1950 states that the U.S. national income in 1944 and 1945 was at a level of 
over $180,000,000,000 (page 265) and that national defense, expenditures in fiscal 1944 were 
$83,766,000,000 and in fiscal 1945, $84,569,000,000 (page 312). 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



11 




Terrain in the Kunming Area 



China front. On the east side of the range use was made of water transport, 
but at a high monetary cost which the U.S. Services of Supply headquarters 
attributed in part to the steady rise in the boatmen's wages and in part to the 
"squeeze" the boatmen paid to officials at the numerous inspection points in 
order to get their cargoes through. 

The weakness of Chinese internal transport greatly affected the military 
situation. The Chinese divisions, national and provincial, were spread out 
all over unoccupied China. Each Chinese war area contained a fair number 
of divisions that lived off the local countryside; great quantities of supplies 
simply could not be moved in Free China, for the Japanese had seized, in 
1937, most of what rail net existed. The difficulty was further compounded 
by the fact that the Chinese had not set up an efficient services of supply. 
Consequently, troop movements could not be supported by a steady flow of 
rations. As a result of all these factors, even if Chinese domestic politics had 
permitted it, moving large numbers of divisions from one province to another 
was not within Chinese capabilities, while feeding them after their arrival 



12 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



a province already strained to support the troops at hand would offer more 
and possibly insoluble problems, both economic and political. 

The accelerating inflation in China directly affected the U.S. forces there, 
for the Japanese blockade of China forced them to depend upon local pro- 
curement for the necessities of everyday life since Hump tonnage had to be 
reserved for gasoline, oil, ammunition, ordnance, spare parts, and the like. 
Food, clothing, construction materials, all had to be obtained in China. The 
prices of these items in Chinese currency rose much faster than did the ex- 
change rate for the U.S. dollar on the open market, so much so that in 
December 1944 the purchasing power of the U.S. dollar in China was but 
one sixth of what it had been in 1937. Plainly, the mere expenditure of U.S. 
currency in China would not provide resources for Wedemeyer's command, 
and would only aggravate an already bad inflation. Supplies would have to 
be brought in from the outside. 

After allowance was made for the steady rise in prices and the high costs 
in transporting goods, the Services of Supply (SOS) still had to recognize 
the steady drain of commodities to the Japanese-held portion of China. Trade 
between occupied and unoccupied China was legal save for a limited number 
of items that could not be exported to Japanese-held areas without permit 
from Chungking. As a result, rice, tung oil, wolfram, timber, paper, sugar, 
hemp, vegetable tallow, hides and leather, resin, tea, and alum were exported 
in quantity to Japanese-held China. Moreover, SOS learned from intelligence 
reports that medicines available in unoccupied China through Red Cross and 
International Relief grants were shipped by parcel post from Chungking to 
villages near the China coast, where the writ of the Central Government did 
not hold, and were then shipped to the Shanghai market. 13 

The major constructive elements in the scene that confronted Wede- 
meyer were two— first, the Air Transport Command and China National 
Aviation Corporation were carrying supplies into China at a rate never ap- 
proached before, and, second, on 15 October 1944 the Allied forces in north 
Burma opened an offensive with six divisions to clear the last Japanese from 
north Burma and open a new supply route to China. In October 1944, 
35,131 tons were flown into China, four times the tonnage which entered 
China to support Stilwell in October 1943. 14 {(Chart ij] When Wede- 



meyer assumed command on 31 October, the Chinese 38th Division, Chinese 
Army in India, was probing the outer defenses of Bhamo in Burma, and was 
thus about seventy miles from the old Burma Road. Such was Allied power 
in north Burma and so battered were the Japanese that the end was a matter 



13 Economic Conditions in China, pp. 14, 17-18, 19 -20. 

14 See Charles F. Romanus and Riley Sunderland, YStikvelFs /Mission to China\ UNITED 
STATES ARMY I N WOR LD WAR II (Washington, 19!>3 >, Chart 6, p. 2M, and Stilwell' s 
Command Problems \ Chart 5\ p. 112. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



13 







C-46 of the Air Transport Command over the Himalaya Mountains. 



of weeks. Time was on Wedemeyer's side, for every day that China 
remained a belligerent Wedemeyer's hand would be strengthened by the 
ever-nearing prospect that American supplies on a considerable scale would 
soon be ready for distribution in China. 15 

To sum up, when Wedemeyer took command of the U.S. forces in China 
Theater, there was extensive evidence of serious dissension among the 
Nationalist commanders, in addition to the highly publicized and generally 
known state of latent civil war between Nationalists and Communists, while 
the economic situation was an adverse factor that would weigh heavily against 
any American effort exerted in China. Under these circumstances, preventing 
the dissolution of China into a group of warring factions— some supported by 
the Japanese, some by the Soviet Union, some by the United States and the 
British Commonwealth— in order for the nation to reach the end of the war 
as a state rather than a geographic expression would be a major achievement. 

n History of India-Burma Theater, 25 Oct 44-23 June 45, I, 106. OCMH. (Hereafter, 
History of I BT.) . . . 



Chart 1 -Tonnage Supplied to China From India-Burma: 
October 1944-September 1945 

Thousand 
Short loni 

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 




Oc t Nov Dm Jon Feb Mar Ap, May jun Jul Aug S*p 
1944 1945 



Source: Statistic*, Transportation Section, prepared by George M. Adams, under tKe direction 
of Theodore E. Whiting. Draft in files of OCMH. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



15 



Gradually, the appreciation of these circumstances molded Wedemeyer's 
interpretation of his mission. 

Wedemeyer's Missions and Roles 

On 24 October 1944 the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Wedemeyer: 

a. Your primary mission with respect to Chinese Forces is to advise and assist the 
Generalissimo in the conduct of military operations against the Japanese. 

b. Your primary mission as to U.S. Combat Forces under your command is to carry 
out air operations from China. In addition you will continue to assist the Chinese air 
and ground forces in operations, training and in logistical support. 

c. You will not employ United States resources for suppression of civil strife except 
insofar as necessary to protect United States lives and property. 

This directive stood unchanged until August 1945. 16 

The problem that confronted Wedemeyer from the beginning was that of 
the content and the goal of the advice he was to give the Generalissimo. 
On 3 November, his G-3, Col. Thomas F. Taylor, suggested that the first 
mission of China Theater was "To aid and support the main effort which is 
being made in the Pacific," then listed the missions given above. In practice, 
Colonel Taylor advised, this meant securing the line of communications that 
led from the India base to Kunming and containing as much of the Japanese 
strength within China as possible. Taylor's concepts appear frequently in later 
studies, and were a step along the way of China Theater's continuing appraisal 
of its mission. 17 

The directive to Wedemeyer was significantly different from that given to 
his predecessor, which had been "to increase the effectiveness of United States 
assistance to the Chinese Government for the prosecution of the war and to 
assist in improving the combat efficiency of the Chinese Army." The old 
hope of reforming the Chinese Army was not suggested in the directive to 
Wedemeyer, possibly because the Operations Division of the War Depart- 
ment had come to doubt that it could be accomplished in time to assist in 
Japan's defeat; Wedemeyer was simply to assist the Chinese. 18 

The Joint Chiefs, in establishing Wedemeyer's position in China, told 
him that he was Commanding General, United State Forces, China Theater, 
which made him the U.S. theater commander, and they then "authorized 
[him] to accept the position of Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo." In so 
doing, the Joint Chiefs did not refer to the Generalissimo in his role as 
Supreme Commander, China Theater, and make Wedemeyer Chief of Staff to 

16 (1) Rad cited n. 4(1). (2) The mission as quoted above is closely paraphrased in History 
of China Theater, 20-31 Oct 44, which Wedemeyer initialed 12 November 1944. 

17 Memo, Col Thomas F. Taylor, G-3, for Wedemeyer, 3 Nov 44, sub: Reorientation of 
Chinese-American Effort in China. OCMH. 

18 (1) The inc reasing tendency of the War Department to minimize China' s role in the 
war is described in \ Stilwell's Command Problems. | (2) Stilwell's Mission to China, , |"Ch. II. | 



16 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



him in that capacity alone, which would have limited Wedemeyer, as it had 
Stilwell, to assisting the Generalissimo in the conduct of combined opera- 
tions in China. 19 Rather, they made Wedemeyer's potential sphere of ac- 
tivity coextensive with the Generalissimo's, and left Wedemeyer free to 
advise the Generalissimo on any topic of interest to the Chinese leader, 
whether as Allied Supreme Commander or Chinese Generalissimo. The role 
of a chief of staff is what the commander chooses to make it. As matters 
developed, Wedemeyer found himself advising the Generalissimo on such 
Chinese domestic concerns as daylight-saving time, traffic regulations, the 
treatment of collaborators, and policy toward foreign holdings in Shanghai. 
But these aspects took some months to evolve, and in December 1944 Wede- 
meyer's personal summary of data on his theater described the relationship as 
not clearly defined. 20 

An intangible but constructive influence in the relationship may be 
found in the impression, shared by several members of Wedemeyer's staff, 
that Wedemeyer and Chiang Kai-shek quickly established an easy and 
pleasant personal relationship. Wedemeyer's tact, his disarming personality, 
and his regard for the amenities made his advice palatable; the Generalissimo, 
as will be seen, was able to consider Wedemeyer's proposals on their merits. 21 

The Generalissimo's other chief of staff was General Ho Ying-chin, who 
was chief of the Chinese General Staff, which limited Ho's role to the 
Chinese Army as against Wedemeyer's concern with all regular forces present 
in China. In practice, Ho proved co-operative, and in retrospect the relation- 
ship between the two men seems to have been easy and amicable. 

Wedemeyer's relationship to his American superiors was different from 
Stilwell's. Because General Hurley was now in China as the President's 
personal representative, Wedemeyer was not called upon to deliver messages 
from the President to the Generalissimo, a task which had sometimes em- 
barrassed Stilwell in his relationship with the Generalissimo and ultimately 
precipitated his recall. From November 1944 until his death the President 
rarely addressed the Generalissimo, in contrast with the twenty-three mes- 
sages of 1944 and the twenty-two of 1943 that were sent through Army 
channels, to which must be added the unknown number sent through the 
Chinese Embassy or the Navy. 22 

19 Stilwell's position as chief of the G eneralissimo's (projected) Allied staff is discussed in 
Stilwell's Mission to Chin a, [Chapter II. | 

20 (1) CM-OUT 51593, JCS to Wedemeyer, 24 Oct 44. (2) Memos 513, 605, 909-7, 
Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 17 Apr 45, 9 Jun 45, 2 Apr 45, Bks 9, 8, and 3, ACW Corresp 
with Chinese, Corresp Fil e, Off CG Hq China Sv Comd Box 45 519, KCRC. (Hereafter, ACW 
Corresp with Chinese.) |(See Bibliographical Note.)! (3) Item 2, Wedemeyer Data Book. 
OPD Copy, OCMH. 1 1 

21 See, for example, comments of Brig. Gen. Paul W. Caraway (former Chief. Planning 
Section, China Theater) on draft manuscript of this volume. OCMH. 

22 Presidential messages of 1943-44 sent through Army channels to the Generalissimo are 
in the nine books of JWS Personal File. [(See Bibliograp hical Note.) | 




Ancient Chinese Villager posing with Cmtj/ W'tifamvt in Ktwiehow Pwtim 
J tiring the tattvrt imped 'fon trip tbmngh southeastern Orimt. 



18 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Wedemeyer's relationship to the Secretary of War, Henry L. Stimson, was 
not that of Stilwell to Stimson. Writing his memoirs in 1947, Stimson spoke 
of the "Stimson-Marshall-Stilwell" policy, noting that with Stilwell's recall 
he had "surrendered for good his bright hopes for a real rejuvenation of the 
Chinese forces," and wrote that he had had "no important part" in 
Wedemeyer's activities. 23 

A certain liaison between Wedemeyer and the President was created by 
General George C. Marshall's practice of sending portions of Wedemeyer's 
correspondence to the President. This was consistent with the Army Chief 
of Staffs policy; he had done the same with Stilwell's radios. 24 

An interesting aspect of the command structure in China Theater was the 
large number of American organizations in China which were completely or 
partly independent of the U.S. theater commander. The press and public 
would hold him responsible for sunshine or rain alike, yet his authority was 
greatly diminished by special arrangements which press and public would 
ignore as being dull military details not worthy of note. Thus, the XX 
Bomber Command was directly under the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The 
Air Transport Command was independent of control either by India-Burma 
or China Theater. Navy Group, China, reported to the Navy Department. 
The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) reported to its headquarters in Wash- 
ington. The Joint Intelligence Collection Agency was under the JCS. In 
addition to these American organizations there were the large number of 
Allied missions and clandestine organizations, the bulk of them British. As 
one of the Generalissimo's chiefs of staff, Wedemeyer could with Chiang's 
consent assert authority over these latter in the name of the Generalissimo 
as Supreme Commander, China Theater, yet each Allied organization might 
claim that the original agreement under which it entered China freed it from 
any attempts at control by a third party. 25 

Thanks to the presence in Chungking of Maj. Gen. Adrian Carton de 
Wiart as the personal representative of Prime Minister Churchill, British 
agencies enjoyed the same sort of part military, part diplomatic representation 



23 (1) Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy, On Active Service in Peace and War (New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), quotation on page 539. (2) But Stimson may have aban- 
doned hope when Stilwell did, in October 1943, for there was not the collaboration and 
corres pondence bet ween them in 1944 that there had been in 1943. See Stilwell's Mission to 
China. | Chapter ~X~\ 

24 (1) See the Wedemeyer correspondence in WDCSA 091 China, DRB AGO. (2) Stil- 
well's Mission to China, p. 246. 

25 (1) The status of the F ourteenth Air Force and the Air Transport Command is discussed 
in \S til well's Mission to China] (2) The XX Bomber Command relationship is treated in Stil- 
well" s\Lommand Probl ems. I ( 3 ) The problems Wedemeyer faced in attempting to assert author- 
ity over approximately twenty U. S. and Allied intelligence agencies operating in China are 
described in History of China Theater, Chapter III. OCMH. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



19 



that the Americans did. Their diplomatic position and their resources were 
important; Wedemeyer was to find their co-operation valuable. 26 

To place Wedemeyer's various missions in their proper perspective against 
the myriad problems of China it may be helpful to note the number of U.S. 
troops in China as of 30 November 1944: 



Organization Number 

Total a 27,739 

Army Air Forces (less XX Bomber Command and Air Transport Command. . 17,723 

Air Transport Command b 2,257 

Theater troops 5,349 

Services of Supply 2,410 



a STM-30, Strength of the Army. TAG, for 30 Nov 44, reports only 24,216 in China. 
b STM-30 reports 23,713 ATC troops in CBI: India Headquarters, 482; India Wing, 7,550; 
Assam Wing, 15,681; none in China Wing. 

The immediate logistical support of Wedemeyer's theater was to be given 
by General Sultan's India-Burma Theater; his requirements on the zone of 
interior for units, supplies, equipment, and personnel were to be submitted 
through Sultan's headquarters, which thus could screen them for items that 
could be supplied from India-Burma Theater. In November 1944, Sultan 
had a total of 183,920 men. 27 



The U.S. Command Structure in China Theater 
On assuming command, Wedemeyer found in China U.S. personnel from 



the Army, the Navy, and the Army Air Forces. {Chart 2) Some were en- 
gaged in aerial combat against the Japanese; some were giving logistical sup- 
port to the U.S. air force units and to the other Americans; some were try- 
ing to train and advise the Chinese armies; some were gathering intelligence. 
There were no U.S. ground combat units, for the U.S. effort in China had 
always been intended by the War Department to help the Chinese defend 
themselves, to which end the War Department and the Joint Chiefs had been 
willing to give advice plus technical and air support. Moreover, since every 
American flown into China meant that .62 of a ton of supplies had to be 
flown to China every month for his support, Stilwell had kept the number 
of U.S. ground force and service personnel in China to a minimum hence 
there were few indeed in that category. Most of them were intended to act 
as technicians or instructors, and so the number of higher commissioned 



- (i Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart:, Happy Odyssey: The Memoirs of Lt. Gen. Sir Adrian Carton 
de Wiart (London: Cape, 1950). 

27 (1) Item 2, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) STM-30, Strength of the Army, TAG, for 
30 Nov. 44, reports 23,713 ATC troops in CBI, 15,469 in XX Bomber Command, and 141,750 
in India, Burma, and Ceylon— a total of 180,932. 



Chart 2— Organization of U.S. Forces, China Theater : 

January 1945 



CG 

U.S. FORCES 
CHINA 



US. NAVY 
GROUP 



OSS 



OWI 



CG 
CHINESE 
COMBAT 
COMMAND 



CG 
CHINESE 
TRAINING 
CENTER 



U.S. 
LJAfSON 
UNITS 




INFANTRY 
SCHOOL 



COMMAND 
AND GENERAL 
STAFF SCHOOL 



CG 
UTH AF 



L. SOS 




14TH AF 



TRAINING 
CADRES 





SUCH OTHER < 
i SCHOOLS AS I™ 
» NECESSARY t 



Source: Wedemcyer Dole. Book. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



21 



ranks and enlisted grades made China Theater relatively top-heavy in rank, 
while shifting plans made it often hard to give them suitable assignments. 28 

These Americans were divided by their missions into five major categories. 
Perhaps first in importance, in that they included the only U.S. combat forces 
in China, were the several Army Air Forces units: the Fourteenth Air Force 
under General Chennault; the XX Bomber Command, under Maj. Gen. 
Curtis E. LeMay; and the China Wing, India-China Division, Air Transport 
Command, under Brig. Gen William H. Tunner. The logistical effort was 
being made by the Air Service Command under the command of the Four- 
teenth and by Advance Section No. 1, SOS in CBI, Col. Robert R. Neyland, 
Jr., commanding. The SOS kept the designation "Advance Section No. 1" 
until 10 November 1944. 

Those ground force men who had been training and advising the Chinese 
had been divided among the operational staff working with the American- 
sponsored divisions in Yunnan Province (Y-Force Operations Staff or 
Y-FOS), and those doing similar work in east China with the Z-Force di- 
visions. The Japanese occupation of east China disrupted the Z-Force; a 
rearrangement of the U.S. troops on Z-Force Operations Staff (Z-FOS) was 
clearly necessary. The officers and enlisted men assigned or attached to 
theater headquarters were easily identified as a fourth functional group. 29 

Almost as soon as he heard of his new position, Wedemeyer asked the 
Army's Chief of Staff, General Marshall, to define his relationship to these 
several organizations and commanders and to General Hurley in the latter's 
role as the President's personal representative. The wording of Wedemeyer' s 
queries made plain his belief that reports to Washington, by whomever sent, 
should be channeled through him and that clandestine, quasi-military, and 
intelligence activities should be under his control. His queries also indicated 
that personnel matters caused him some concern. And, having had ample 
opportunity during his nineteen months' previous service in Asia to become 
aware of some of the less-publicized problems of that area, Wedemeyer re- 
quested a clear definition of his duties in regard to lend-lease, Hump 
allocations, smuggling over the Hump, and black marketing. 

In planning to create his own team in China, Wedemeyer asked that Maj. 
Gen. Thomas G. Hearn, who had been Stilwell's Chief of Staff, and Brig. 
Gen. Benjamin G. Ferris, who had been Deputy Chief of Staff, be replaced 
by Maj. Gen. Robert B. McClure and Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Timberman, 

28 (1) Ltr, Col Eugene B. Ely, Pres Boards of Investigation USFCT, to CG USFCT, 7 Dec 45, 
with Incl, A Reconsideration of Report, "The Strength, Distribution and Orgn of American 
Personnel in the China Theater." Exhibit 16, CT 41, Dr 1, KCRC. (2) Memo, Col Edward 
H. Young et al for Actg CofS, 7. Jan 46, sub: Recommendations Pertaining to Reconsideration 
of Report on Strength, Distribution, and Organization of American Personnel in China Theater. 
Tabs 5, 6, 8, 14, same file. 

'"' Wedemeyer Data Book. 



22 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault (left), Commanding General, Fourteenth Air 
Force, welcomes General Wedemeyer to the China Theater, October 1944. 



respectively. Of Chennault, Wedemeyer wrote: "I fully appreciate his abili- 
ties and recognize in him an intrepid and inspirational leader; however, I am 
not sure that he will cooperate in the premises." He requested the War 
Department to order Brig. Gen. Eugene H. Beebe to China to be Chennault's 
deputy and ultimately his successor. If it were true that, as Wedemeyer had 
heard, Chennault's health was failing, then he asked that advantage be taken 
of that circumstance to relieve the airman at once without prejudice to his 
splendid combat record. 30 

As drafted by Brig. Gen. John E. Hull, Assistant Chief of Staff, Opera- 
tions Division, the War Department's initial response was largely noncom- 
mittal. Wedemeyer was told that his directive (discussed above) would 
answer many of his queries. Since Hurley was the President's personal rep- 
resentative, it appeared to the War Department that he could radio the 
President directly. Hurley's mission was described simply as having been to 
harmonize the Chiang-Stilwell relationship. In regard to Chennault, Wede- 
meyer was told to observe the situation in China, then send further recom- 

30 CM-IN 23448, CM-IN 23602, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 25 Oct 44. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



23 



mendations. More specific answers were promised later, but he was also told 
to study existing instructions. 31 

Wedemeyer, in compliance with this suggestion, studied the situation on 
the scene in China before moving to set up his command through the 
issuance of directives to his principal subordinates. In November 1944 his 
operational activity was directed toward the Chinese, in urging them to make 
a co-ordinated and effective use of their existing resources to stop the Japanese 
short of the Hump airline terminus of Kunming, while he began drafting 
directives to his air force, Services of Supply, and field commanders. 

General Hearn, who had been in China since March 1942, asked to be 
relieved after Stilwell's recall. The War Department, believing that his 
presence in Chungking if continued for a while would give an element of 
continuity, directed that Hearn confer with Wedemeyer to arrange the time 
of his leaving. China Theater was authorized to issue orders for Hearn's 
relief "when his services could be spared." 32 

The XX Bomber Command, though it was a major burden on the logis- 
tical and air resources of China Theater, was, as previously observed, not 
under Wedemeyer's command. It was part of the Twentieth Air Force, 
whose commanding general was the executive agent of the Joint Chiefs of 
Staff in carrying out their directives for its employment. Subject to contin- 
gencies set forth in JCS directives, Wedemeyer could divert the B-29's from 
their primary mission if a tactical or strategic emergency arose. In practice, 
the provision had meant little, for the JCS defined emergency with the 
utmost rigidity. H Though in the early days of his command in China, Wede- 
meyer did not recommend that the B-29's be withdrawn from China, he did 
advise that he should be authorized to make recommendations as to their 
most profitable use. 34 

The China Wing of the India-China Division, Air Transport Command, 
also was not under Wedemeyer's command though the India-China Division 
had assigned it missions that supported Wedemeyer. The China Wing 
operated regular scheduled flights between such cities as Wedemeyer might 
desire; it flew supplies from Kunming to Cheng-tu; it operated missions that 
Wedemeyer might want, such as movement of Chinese troops from Burma 
to east China; and when not required for any such missions it flew the Hump 
from China to India." 5 



11 CM-OUT 53093. Marshall to Wedemeyer. 27 Oct 44. 
M History of China Theater, 20-31 Oct 44, p. 23. 

:!i (1) Item 9, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) For Stilwell's attempt to use the B-29's, see 
Stilwell's Command Problems. Chapter ~X] 

■ N Rad CFB 2 5886, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 10 Nov 44. Item 58, Bk 1, ACW Personal 
File. 

15 Memo, Gen Tunner, CG ICD ATC, for Wedemeyer, 17 Dec 44. Item 10, Wedemeyer 
Data Book. 



24 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Kunming Airfield. The Air Transport Command flew supplies to Chennault's for- 
ward fields from the Kunming bases. 



On 10 November Wedemeyer issued the first interim directive to the SOS 
in China. Maj. Gen. Gilbert X. Cheves became SOS commander, vice 
Colonel Neyland, who became commanding officer of the Base General 
Depot No. 2 at Calcutta (and ultimately commanding general of that base 
section). General Cheves was simply told that existing directives would 
remain in force as far as applicable. Under them, the SOS in China had 
been virtually independent, for Neyland had acted as a deputy in China for 
Maj. Gen. William E. R. Covell, commanding the SOS in CBI. 36 

As for the various intelligence agencies, Wedemeyer did not move to 
integrate them into a harmonious team until late December 1944. Then he 
began by questioning them as to their missions and authority to operate in 
China. 37 

The U.S. Projects in China 

The long-standing intent of the War Department to help the Chinese to 
help themselves and Roosevelt's and the Generalissimo's desire that U.S. air 

36 (1) Opnl Dir 2, Wedemeyer to Cheves, 1 Dec 44. Item 4, Wedemeyer Data Book. 
(2) SOS in IBT, p. 15. 

37 History of China Theater, Ch. Ill, p. 1. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



25 




India-Based B-29's of the XX Bomber Command staging at Cheng-tu for a strike 
against Japan. 

power play the stellar role in China interacted to produce a number of air, 
supply, and training projects whose sum defined the theater's sphere of opera- 
tions. Of all these, the Fourteenth Air Force currently seemed the most im- 
portant; Wedemeyer's initial judgment of the importance of the air element 
in his operations was suggested by his writing to General Henry H. Arnold, 
who commanded the Army Air Forces: "[General Marshall] has given me a 
task which is almost wholly dependent upon proper employment of air and I 
must have adequate air representation to accomplish this task. ... I should 
have over 50% air officers on the China Theater staff." 38 

The Fourteenth Air Force had, in November 1944, an average strength of 
398 fighters, 97 medium bombers, and 47 heavy bombers. In that same 
month the Fourteenth received 13,578 tons of supplies flown in over the 
Hump, of which 9,357 tons were gas and oil. 39 From the Kunming airfields, 
the China Wing of the ATC flew these supplies to Chennault's forward 
fields, this intratheater transport being of course a charge on Hump tonnage. 
The apparent crisis in east China made it seem advisable to use all available 

:is Rad CFB 25485, Wedemeyer to Arnold, info Stratemeyer, Chennault, Tunner, and Sultan, 
4 Nov 44. Item 45, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 
39 Item 8, Wedemeyer Data Book. 



26 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Chinese trucks for concentrating the Chinese for the defense of Kunming; 
the quartermaster truck companies of the SOS were not by themselves enough 
to support the Fourteenth Air Force. 

These resources of air power, unimpressive in contrast to what Allied 
commanders had in Europe or the Pacific, but a good deal more than the 
Japanese had in China, were divided among two composite wings — the 68th 
and 69th— the 312th Fighter Wing, the Chinese-American Composite Wing 
(CACW), and the 308th Bombardment Group (H). An example of 
Chennault's flexibility, the 68th Wing had three fighter squadrons assigned, 
with bombers attached as the mission required. The 69th had four fighter 
squadrons and three medium squadrons. With headquarters at Kunming, 
it was shifting its attention from the campaign in Burma to the defense of 
Kunming against a Japanese attack from the south or southeast. The 
Chinese- American Composite Wing, headquarters at Peishiyi, had two fighter 
groups and one bombardment group. The 312th had two fighter groups 
(50 P-47's, 60 P-51's, and 6 P-6l's), a total of five squadrons, protecting the 
B-29 fields at Cheng-tu. 40 

The B-29's of the XX Bomber Command were based on India, but staged 
through the Cheng-tu complex of air bases to attack their targets in Formosa, 
Manchuria, and Japan. The Cheng-tu fields, an expansion of existing 
Chinese facilities, were a major installation. There were four airfields, each 
with a .runway about 2,600 yards long, and storage for 168,000 gallons of 
gasoline. Three fields had hardstandings for fifty-two B-29's each, and the 
fourth, for forty-three. There was housing for 7,078 airmen. Providing 
these facilities was the responsibility of China Theater, though the power the 
B-29's represented was not at Wedemeyer's command. 41 Hobbled though 
the B-29's were by the logistic problems of accumulating supplies at Cheng-tu, 
they were still capable of a few massive blows within a given time period, 
for experience proved they could mount raids of from 84 to 91 aircraft, with 
bomb loads of from two tons per plane on maximum-range missions to four 
tons over-all, that is, 5,901 tons of bombs on 1,576 combat sorties from 
China in seven months of operations. 42 

The major effort of the Services of Supply in October-November 1944 
was devoted to operations on the line of communications from Kunming to 
east China, the eastern line of communications (or ELOC). The line had 
been forcibly shortened by the Japanese who overran its eastern termini, 
while the lack of resources at the SOS's command made its efforts necessarily 

40 (1) Item 8, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) Chennault comments on draft MS of this 
volume. OCMH. 

41 Item 9, Wedemeyer Data Book. 

42 United States Strategic Bombing Survey [USSBS], Air Operations in China, Burma, India, 
World War II (Washington, 1947). 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



27 



on a small scale. So the 3732 and 3843d Quartermaster Truck Companies, 
making extensive use of rather unsatisfactory Chinese drivers and supported 
by the 857th Ordnance Heavy Automotive Maintenance Company, brought 
forward what they could to the Chanyi truckhead, and later to northern fields 
of the Fourteenth Air Force. The bulk of tonnage to east China was carried 
by Chinese agencies. 

The major engineering projects were highway construction, maintenance, 
and repair. The Engineer Section of SOS used Chinese contractors and 
Chinese Government funds on the Kutsing-Tushan section of the ELOC. 
On the other side of China, men of the Burma Road Engineers, attached to 
the SOS and commanded by Col. Robert F. Seedlock, were charged with 
maintaining and improving the Chinese end of the Burma Road, roughly 
from Kunming to the Salween, against the day when the Ledo Road would 
connect with it. Essentially they were a task force of engineers and heavy 
equipment operators, numbering about 180 all told. Airfield construction, 
so important to the Fourteenth Air Force, was a Chinese responsibility, for 
the SOS did not have the necessary facilities. 

In addition to these major efforts, the SOS performed its housekeeping 
tasks for the U.S. forces in China, operating a station hospital in Kunming, 
providing 3d and 4th echelon motor maintenance facilities in the same city, 
purchasing subsistence in the open market, maintaining signal communica- 
tions, and the like. All this was on a small scale, for the Hump restricted 
everything that might be flown in and often the SOS received nothing it had 
requisitioned; the Fourteenth Air Force was until October 1944 responsible 
for its own supply through the Air Service Command in that great area east 
of the 108th meridian; and lastly, the Chinese Government, through the War 
Area Service Command, supplied food and shelter to the U.S. forces in China 
through its hostels. 43 

After the air effort and the attempts to move tonnage to the airfields and 
to the troops, the remaining U.S. project in China was liaison with and train- 
ing and observing of Chinese troops. On the Salween front, liaison and 
technical advice was given in the forward areas, while troop training con- 
tinued in the rear. In east China, the reluctance of the Chinese to attempt 
a stand after Heng-yang's fall on 8 August led to the withdrawal of almost 
all the Americans who had tried since 1 January 1944 to train a second 
Thirty Divisions in east China. The so-called Z-Force Operations Staff that 
remained comprised an observer group with the headquarters of the Chinese 
IX War Area and a liaison team of twenty-eight under Col. Harwood C. 
Bowman in the city of Liuchow. This handful of Americans, in the first 

43 History of Services of Supply, China, India, Burma Theater, 28 February 1942-24 Octo- 
ber 1944, Apps. A-I. OCMH. (Hereafter, SOS in CBI.) Despite the title, the manuscript 
carries the story through 31 December 1944. 



28 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



months of Wedemeyer's command, sought to give technical aid to the 
Chinese defenders of Kwangsi while sending a flow of information back to 
theater headquarters in Chungking. They provided air-ground liaison, 
supervised demolitions, helped distribute the 500 tons of munitions flown in 
to east China in late October 1944, and helped with administrative and logis- 
tical matters. The rest of the Z-FOS men, including the headquarters, were 
in Kunming, their future mission dependent on Wedemeyer's estimate of the 
situation. They numbered 625. 44 

Near Kunming there were a Field Artillery Training Center, a Command 
and General Staff School, and a Chinese Ordnance Training Center. Ameri- 
can officers and enlisted men acted as instructors while the Chinese provided 
the administrative staff and school troops. The Field Artillery Training 
Center had opened its doors 1 April 1943 and had trained individual students, 
trained and equipped artillery battalions, and repaired Chinese ordnance. 45 
Activated 15 May 1944, the Command and General Star! School used the 
plant of the old Infantry Training Center and gave instruction to 100-man 
classes of Chinese field-grade and general officers. 

Farther west, on and behind the Salween front itself, a much larger group 
of Americans, the Y- Force Operations Staff, was giving close support to the 
Chinese attempt to clear the Japanese from the Chinese end of the Burma 
Road. Infantry, artillery, veterinary, engineer, signal, medical, and air per- 
sonnel were attached to Chinese armies and divisions. 46 American portable 
and field hospitals gave medical care to Chinese troops of a sort hitherto 
unknown in Chinese wars. A chain of liaison teams, reporting to Brig. Gen. 
Frank Dorn, Chief of Staff, Y-FOS, observed the Chinese, and checked on their 
compliance with the orders of General Wei Li-huang, the Chinese commander 
on the Salween. The whole attempt to clear out the Japanese was made possi- 
ble by air support and air supply from the Fourteenth Air Force. At the 
Chinese Communist headquarters, Yenan, there was the small American Ob- 
server Group under Col. David D. Barrett. In terms of American troops 
working directly with the Chinese the effort was small, some 4,800 officers 
and enlisted men. To provide supplies for the projects just described was 
one of the most important missions of General Sultan's India-Burma 
Theater. 47 



44 (1) Rpt, Hq CT&CC USFCT to The Adjutant General, 1 Jan 45, sub: Hist Rpt of 
CT&CC, 25 Oct 44-31 Dec 44. OCMH. (2) Bowman comments on draft MS. (3) Z-FOS 
Morning Rpt, 31 Oct 44, KCRC. 

45 See St i I well' ' s Mission to China Ych. VIII. 1 

46 (1) See Stilwell's Command Problems , |~Pt. III.| (2) History of C&GS School, 1944-45. 
OCMH. 

47 (1) History of Dixie Mission. (2) Stilwell's Command Problems \ Ch X. I 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



29 




Y-Force Officers observing a Chinese artillery attack on the walled city of Teng- 
chung. From left: Col. John H. Stodter, Commander, Liaison Group, Chinese 53d Army; 
Brig. Gen. Frank Dorn, Chief of Staff, Y-FOS; Lt. Col. Frank Sherman, Liaison Officer, 
Chinese 2d Division; and Lt. Col. John Darrah, Executive Officer, Y-FOS. 



Sultan's Task 

The situation in India and Burma contrasted sharply with the darkling 
scene in China. If in May and August of 1942 and April and May of 1944 
Japanese victories in Burma had threatened to inflame nationalist sentiment 
to the point of large-scale revolt, by the end of October 1944 Japanese defeat 
was so apparent a prospect that only those Indians who, like Subhas Chandra 
Bose, had joined the Japanese camp acted as though they thought they had 
picked the winner; Indian nationalism waited on Allied victory for the satis- 
faction of its claims. The military outlook was bright. The Japanese at- 
tempt to invade India in 1944 with three divisions had been a debacle, no 
less; the plans, the commanders, the divisions were all ruined. The Japanese 
hoped to hold Burma as long as possible to keep China blockaded to the last 
minute, but never again could it be a springboard to conquest. In the north 
of Burma General Sultan had one British and five Chinese divisions plus an 
American brigade, all supported by India-Burma Theater, concentrated in the 
Myitkyina-Mogaung area of north Burma, the Bhamo-Namhkan- Wanting 
area, ready to pry open the last Japanese grip on the Burma Road. Their 
unbroken series of past successes against the Japanese 18th and J>5d Divisions 



Chart 3 — Allied Chain of Command: November 1944 



Combined Chiefs 
of Staff 



Generalissimo 
Chians Kai-shek, 
China Theater 



Admiralty 



C-in-C GHQ (I) 




Chiefs of Staff 
(British) 



Supreme Allied 
Commander, SE AC, 
and Deputy* 



C-in-C, Allied 
Land Force, SEA 



— Air Ministry 



Commonwealth 
Land Forces, 
SEAC 



CG, Northern 
Combat Area 
Command 
(Sultan) 



CG, Chinese Army 
in India (Sultan) 



Joint Chiefs of 
Staff (U.S.) 



CG, India-Burma 
Theater 
(Sultan) 



CG, China Theater 
(U.S.) 
(Wedemeyer) 



Allied Air 
C-in-C, SEA 



Chief of Staff, 
China Theater 
(Wedemeyer) 



CG, Eastern 
Air Command. 

SEA 
(Stratemeyer) 



*Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, U.S. Army, was Deputy SAC, SEA. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



31 




Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan (left), Commanding General, India-Burma Theater, 
with Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten ( center ), Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast 
Asia, and Brig. Gen. John P. Willey, Commanding General, 5332d Provisional Brigade. 

plus regiments from the 2d and 49th indicated they were well able to do so. 
Opposite central Burma, on the Indian border, the British 4 and 33 Corps 
were drawing close to the Chindwin River. In the Arakan, the British 15 
Corps was preparing to move down the coast of Burma in order to secure 
bases from which air supply could reach deep into central Burma to sustain 
the 4 and 33 Corps when they should return the British flag to Mandalay and 
Meiktila. 48 

When he had been deputy commander of the old China-Burma-India 
Theater, General Sultan had had his office in theater headquarters in New 
Delhi, with India and Burma as his area of responsibility. Supervision of 
the U.S. effort in India-Burma and liaison between the New Delhi head- 
quarters a nd the field headquarters in Burma had been his major tasks. 
(Chart 3) When he took command of the new India-Burma Theater, his 



48 Report and Supplement for the Combined Chiefs of Staff" by the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, South-East Asia, 1943-1946, Vice Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, New 
Delhi, India, July 30, 1947, pars. 268, 299, 300, and 345. (Hereafter, Mountbatten Report.) 



32 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



directive in effect required him to continue with his administrative responsi- 
bilities in India and Burma, adding to them the command of India-based U.S. 
and Chinese operations in Burma. The JCS directive made clear that Sultan's 
was a supporting role: 

Your primary mission is to support the China Theater in carrying out its mis- 
sion. . . . This includes the establishment, maintenance, operation, and security of the 
land line of communication to China, and the security of the air route to China. . . . you 
will participate in and support the operations of the Southeast Asia Command. For this 
purpose, forces involved under your command will be under the operational control of 
SACSEA [Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia]. . . . you will be responsible 
for the logistic and administrative support of all U.S. Army Forces in the India-Burma 
theater. . . . Requirements of the China Theater which cannot be met from resources 
available to you will be submitted by you to the War Department. . . . You will co- 
ordinate directly with the Commanding General of the China Theater and with the 
Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia Command and with the Commander-in-Chief, 
India, to the extent necessary to carry out the mission. The India-Burma Theater must 
serve as a communications zone for the China Theater and requisitions will be made 
accordingly by the Commanding General of India-Burma Theater. 49 

The directive meant that the installations and troops in India and Burma 
would continue at their familiar tasks. It also defined the relationship be- 
tween Sultan and Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, Southeast Asia Command. 

In China, the major problems of inter- Allied command relations revolved 
around Wedemeyer's relation to the Generalissimo. In India-Burma, they 
arose between India-Burma Theater (IBT) and Southeast Asia Command 
(SEAC), which had operational control of Allied forces in Burma. Stilwell 
had acted as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC. This post was now 
given to Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler, onetime Commanding General, 
SOS, CBI, who had been promoted to Principal Administrative Officer, 
SEAC. But Sultan did inherit Stilwell 's duties of field commander in Burma 
by succeeding him as Commanding General, Northern Combat Area Com- 
mand (NCAC), and Commanding General, Chinese Army in India. 

The Northern Combat Area Command had originally been created in 
early 1944 to provide a headquarters that would be legally and actually 
American to command American, British, and Indian service and combat 
troops in north Burma. Its personnel were concurrently the American staff 
of a Sino- American headquarters, Chih Hui Pu, which commanded the 
Chinese in north Burma. By summer 1944, through common and informal 
consent of Chinese and Americans, the term Northern Combat Area Com- 
mand had quietly superseded Chih Hui Pu and all concerned were content to 
refer to NCAC as the senior Allied headquarters in north Burma. 

In addition to U.S. service troops, there were two Chinese armies, the 

49 (1) History of IBT, I, 37. (2) Quotation from Rad cited n. 4(1). 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



33 



New Sixth and the New First, and the 1st Chinese Separate Regiment under 
NCAC. Together, they formed the Chinese Army in India (CAI). The 
New First Army, under General Sun Li-jen, included the 30th and 38th Di- 
visions. The 38th Division had been engaged since 30 October 1943, and 
had previously taken a creditable part in the First Burma Campaign of 1942. 
The division had been trained, re-equipped, and brought up to strength at 
Ramgarh Training Center in Bihar Province, India. Its sister division, the 
30th, was also Ramgarh-trained. Its 88th and 89th Regiments had fought at 
Myitkyina. The New Sixth Army included the l4th, 22d, and 50th Divi- 
sions, commanded by General Liao Yao-shiang. The 22d Division had 
fought in the First Burma Campaign, then been rebuilt at Ramgarh. It had 
been in action since January 1944. 

As a field commander and as a theater commander, Sultan found that 
SEAC had the ultimate operational control of all U.S. and Chinese combat 
troops under his command, though he himself, through General Covell, the 
SOS commander, controlled the U.S. logistic effort in India, for India lay 
outside SEAC's boundaries. As a theater commander, Sultan was independ- 
ent of SEAC, but as commander of the Northern Combat Area Command, 
he was one of two Army commanders under SEAC. In his capacity as theater 
commander, Sultan had under him the U.S. Tenth Air Force, Maj. Gen. 
Howard C. Davidson, but operational control of the Tenth had been yielded 
to SEAC's Eastern Air Command, an integrated organization with Royal Air 
Force (RAF) and Army Air Forces (AAF) units. Eastern Air Command was 
commanded by Maj. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer of the AAF. So, even as 
Wedemeyer had two superiors, the Joint Chiefs and the Generalissimo, 
Sultan had two, the Joint Chiefs and the Supreme Allied Commander, SEAC, 
Admiral Mountbatten. As a chief of staff to the Generalissimo, Wedemeyer 
had a more elevated position in the hierarchy of China Theater than did 
Sultan in Southeast Asia Command, for between Mountbatten and Sultan 
lay still another echelon of command, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia. 50 

The American Effort in India and Burma 

To carry out his tasks, Sultan in November 1944 had a U.S. force many 
times the size of Wedemeyer's: 51 



Total • " 183,920 



Theater troops 21,230 

SOS 60,223 

AAF 79,946 

ATC a 22,521 



" See noce |27(2). above"""] 

50 (1) History of IBT I 1, 2 60-64. (2) Stilmll's Minion to China, \Ch.^\ (3) Stil- 
well's Command Problems. | Ch. (4) Since Sultan's combat force s were part of the much 

larger SEAC command, they will be described below in | Chapter III. | 

sl History of IBT. II, chart facing p. 269. 



34 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



As the j tablej above indicates, the missions of these troops — one cannot say 
"men' because nurses and members of the Women's Army Corps were also 
present — were principally in the fields of logistics and air war. 

Their tasks were to give logistical support to the Hump and Tenth Air 
Force airfields; operate the Assam line of communications which sustained 
the six Allied divisions in north Burma; provide air supply to British, Indian, 
and Chinese divisions in Burma; build the Ledo Road; and operate both the 
communications and combat zones of the Chinese divisions in north Burma. 

As he took up his new tasks, General Sultan was spared a duty which in 
China had absorbed Wedemeyer and his staff for many days; he did not have 
to frame new directives for his subordinate commands. The SOS could con- 
tinue as it had, operational directives to the Tenth Air Force would come 
from Eastern Air Command, and the Chinese Army in India and Northern 
Combat Area Command were going concerns, with plans complete for the 
fall campaign. 

The basic mission of the SOS was to construct, operate, and maintain a 
ground line of communications that would in its initial phases support the 
airlift to China and the North Burma Campaign and when complete stretch 
to China to support the U.S. effort there. 

The India-based air effort comprised the B-29's, which from their home 
bases around Calcutta were staged through China to attack Japan; the Air 
Transport Command, which from bases in Assam and later Bengal as well 
flew supplies over the Japanese lines into China; the Tenth Air Force, which 
flew strategical and tactical missions in Burma; and the Combat Cargo Task 
Force, which furnished air supply. 

Training Chinese troops at Ramgarh, Bihar Province, was still one of the 
major American activities in India, but the days of maximum effort there 
passed with the completion of preparations for taking north Burma. As of 
24 October 1944, when the CBI Theater was split, 5,368 Chinese officers and 
48,124 Chinese enlisted men had been trained at Ramgarh. Still present were 
1,309 Chinese officers and 7,951 Chinese enlisted men. Training of artillery, 
armor, and corps and army troops was the major task in fall 1944. Ramgarh's 
facilities were also used to train the only U.S. regiment to be sent as such 
from the United States to China, Burma, and India, the 124th Cavalry 
Regiment of the Texas National Guard, now a dismounted unit. 52 

The SOS in India. Fall 1944 

There was very little immediate effect on Covell's SOS in India and 
Burma from the division of the China-Burma-India Theater. The SOS in 
China had been substantially independent, as far as command went, and as 

52 History of IBT, I, 22-23. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



35 



it had but a few weeks before received a substantial increase in its personnel 
allotment, there was no immediate impact on the personnel situation. Then, 
as Wedemeyer's plans jelled, personnel requisitions began to arrive from 
China, including one for the commander of the Calcutta base, General 
Cheves. As they arrived, a survey showed that attempts to fill them from 
the SOS organization in India-Burma were the principal effect of the split on 
SOS in India-Burma. Immediately after the split, the SOS was organized as: 
Headquarters, New Delhi 

Base Section No. 1, with headquarters at Karachi 

Base Section No. 2, with headquarters at Calcutta 

Intermediate Section No. 2, with headquarters at Chabua, Assam 

Advance Section No. 3, with headquarters at Ledo, Assam 
Each section commander was responsible for all SOS installations in his area. 53 

The principal task of the SOS was operating the terrestrial elements of the 
long line of communications that stretched, ultimately, from dockside at 
Calcutta to the unloading stands on the Chinese airfields. \{Map 2)| The 
major components of the line were the port facilities of Calcutta; the rail, 
barge, road, and pipe lines of the Assam line of communications; the Air 
Transport Command fields in Bengal, Assam, and Burma; the transport air- 
craft themselves; and, finally, the airfields in China. The Air Transport 
Command was autonomous, but its support was one of the greatest single 
problems of the SOS. 

In India and Burma, construction and transportation were no longer a 
major puzzle but were routine operating problems. The depot system and 
local procurement were well established so that the intratheater supply 
problem was in hand. Indeed, the major problem remaining was that of the 
backlog of water-borne supply tonnage which had been built up between 
Los Angeles and Calcutta because shipping was not available in quantity to 
satisfy every overseas command. 

Calcutta, the heart of Base Section No. 2, was the principal seaport in 
India-Burma, for Karachi, in Base Section No. 1, regarded as the only secure 
port in the days of Japanese victories, was now too far from the front and 
received very few vessels to unload. In the winter of 1943-44, Base Section 
No. 2 had received two more port battalions, the 497th and 508th, modern 
dock and barge equipment, and full use of a section of the King George 
Docks. This plus dynamic leadership had broken the port bottleneck at 
Calcutta. In October Calcutta handled 61,591 long tons, a figure that 
though large in comparison with past performance was shortly estimated by 
General Co veil to be but one fifteenth of Calcutta's potential capacity. 54 

53 (1) SOS in IBT, pp. 16-17, 19. (2) Wedemeyer comments on draft MS of this vol- 
ume. OCMH. 

54 (1) SOS in IBT, pp. 130-32. (2) Stilwell s Command Problems, [Ch. VII. | 



CHINA- BURMA-INDIA LINE OF COMMUNICATIONS 




* 

O 



LEGEND 

BflOAO GAUGE. DOUBLE TRACK 
BBOAO CAUSE, SinOLE Track 

meter gauge, Single track 
Barge route 

- °PEllHE '6 IUCH 1 
Pipe line (4 inch ) 
Airlift to China 
Major airfielOS 

100 



statute uilES 



36 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Loading River Boats at Calcutta with rations for the fighting front. U.S. port bat- 
talion men trained and supervised the Indian dock workers. 

In November 1944 Brig. Gen. Robert R. Neyland, Jr., took command of 
Base Section No. 2, in General Covell's opinion greatly increasing the port's 
efficiency by improving the morale and performance of duty of the American 
port battalions and the Indian dock workers and stevedores supplied by the 
Government of India under reciprocal aid. During 1944 the United States 
adopted the system of paying for tonnage unloaded rather than for man-hours 
of Indian labor expended. This, together with the introduction of labor- 
saving devices and training of Indian labor by the men of the port battalions, 
resulted in a substantial reduction of Indian man-hours and Indian labor costs. 
Between September and December 1944 Indian man-hours were cut from 
647,929 per month to 357,390, handling costs per ton from $2.87 to $1.36. 

Nor did supplies accumulate in warehouses or at dockside, for the Assam 
line of communications from Calcutta north and east had, if General Covell 
was correctly informed, a capacity 15 percent above anticipated military re- 
quirements. The major factor in this happy situation, a considerable change 
from that in 1942, 1943, and early 1944, was that American railway troops 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



37 




SHE 



Loading Boxcars. Soldiers of the 748th Railway Operating Battalion oversee the trans- 
fer of supplies from river boat to boxcar, India, November 1944. 

managing the line of communications were now under Allied military control 
which extended along key sections of the Bengal and Assam Railway. Com- 
pletion of several major construction projects had eliminated some major 
bottlenecks. 55 The unbridged and turbulent Brahmaputra River had been a 
problem, for the two ferries crossing it had been unable to meet traffic 
demands. Two more ferries were completed by fall 1944 and drastically 
changed procedures greatly increased the traffic flow at each of the four. A 
steep section of single track had limited train lengths and speeds, for long 
trains on it were apt to break apart. Double-tracking met one problem, 
vacuum brakes and American engineers the other, so that from February 
1944 to November 1944 traffic over the stretch jumped from 75,110 tons 
to 138,393 tons a month. 56 

There were both broad and meter-gauge railways in the line of communi- 
cations, and the transshipment points that linked them restricted traffic. On 



Stilwell' s Command Problems, 
History of IBT, I, 10. 



Ch. VII. 



38 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



6 October SOS took over one such major point which had remained under 
Indian civil control long after the rest of the system had passed under Allied 
military control. This point had threatened to hold back the whole line of 
communications. Out went the antiquated steam gantry cranes, and in came 
new electric models from the United States. A new railroad yard was built 
to handle more cars. Floodlights were erected and operations went on a 
twenty-four-hour basis. Other transshipment points were similarly treated, 
and such modern techniques promptly brought results; by November 1944, 
rail-to-river traffic at one point had increased 224 percent over February, and 
at a river-to-rail point traffic was up 204 percent for the same period. Malaria 
and dysentery in the Military Railway Service area, which had in the past 
helped make Indian rail traffic even more of a hazard, were directly attacked 
in September by converting some boxcars into diners and mobile dispensaries 
to serve troop trains on long runs through Assam. Thanks to these im- 
provements, the Military Railway Service carried its all-time peak load of 
troops in October, when it moved 92,800 troops plus materiel into place for 
the fall offensive. 57 

The steady progress of the pipeline program directed by the Quebec Con- 
ference of August 1943 was shifting attention from the problem of transport- 
ing fuel to that of procuring it. From the port of Budge-Budge, near 
Calcutta, one six-inch line ran to the Tinsukia tank farm in Assam while 
another of six-inch and four-inch combined served the B-29 fields outside 
Calcutta. From Tinsukia, two four-inch lines went on into Burma alongside 
the Ledo Road. One had reached Myitkyina by the time the CBI Theater 
was split, the other by 31 October 1944 was complete to mile 219 from Ledo, 
near Warazup. The neat black line that these arteries made on a map 
looked rather different in the field— years later, an officer recalled seeing a 
working party laying pipe in flood water chin high. "One, two, three," the 
leader would count, and at "three" all would take a deep breath and duck 
below to connect the pipe under water. 58 

In Assam, there were now enough airfields to accommodate the Air Trans- 
port Command's Hump operations and permit the fullest degree of air sup- 
port and air supply to the forthcoming campaign in Burma. In the spring 
and summer of 1943 the condition of the airfields had greatly hindered 
supply of the Fourteenth Air Force in China; that was now a thing of the 
past. 59 

Though the Air Transport Command was in no sense part of the SOS, 
its role as the vital link in the line of communications to China requires its 

57 History of IBT, I, 11, 12. 

58 (1) History of IBT, I, 17-18. (2) Tnterv with Col Rothwell M. Brown, 10 Jun 52. 
OCMH. (3) Stilwell's Command Problems. \ On. I. | 

59 SOS in IBT, p. 6. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



39 





Bulldozer in Operation South of Myitkyina 



mention here. The Ledo Road and the pipelines were hopes for the future, 
but after its early struggles the ATC had become a present reality and was 
delivering supplies to China at a pace that increased daily. Its successes in 
1944 and 1945 must be regarded as the indis 1 ensable foundation for Wede- 
meyer's achievements in China; the steady increase in tonnage delivered to 
China merits a departure from chronology. 60 

In October 1944 the India-China Division of the ATC had an average 
strength of 297.8 operationally assigned aircraft. They were manned and 
maintained by 22,423 service troops and 23,812 locally hired civilians. By 
June 1945 the India-China Division had an average of 622.4 operationally as- 
signed aircraft. Servi ce troops then totaled 33,938, their numbers augmented 



by 47,009 civilians. 61 | Table l| shows tonnages delivered. 



The Ledo Road was nearing completion. The ground was drying in 
north Burma, the rivers returning to their channels, and the soldiers begin- 



60 The two earlier volumes of this series, \Stilwell's Mission to China\ a.ad \Stilwell 's Command \ 
Problems, offer a brief account of the early days ot the ATC in CB1. A detailed account may 
be found in the manuscript histories of the ATC. On file with Hist Div, ATC. See also 
Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air Forces in World War II, IV, 
The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 
1950) and V, The Pacific: MA TTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945 (1953). 

61 History of IBT, II, 383-86. 



40 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

Table 1 — Tonnages Delivered by India-China Division, ATC 



Year and Month 



To China 



Intra-India 



1944 

October. . . 
November 
December. 

1945 
January. . 
February . 
March 

April 

May 

June 



24, 715 
34, 914 
31,935 

44, 099 
40, 677 
46, 545 
44, 254 
46, 394 
55,387 



" Tonnages shown on Chart 1, p. 14, above, include hauls by other carriers than ATC, such as Chinese National 
Airways. 

Source: History of IBT, II. 383-86. 



ning to get the mud and mildew in their camps reduced to less than night- 
mare proportions. The lead bulldozer was about eighty miles away from the 
Myitkyina-Bhamo Road. Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, commanding Advance 
Section No. 3, the builder of the Ledo Road and so closely connected with 
it that the soldiers called it "Pick's Pike," thought that another ninety days 
would see it joined to the Burma Road. 62 Breaking the blockade of China 
was now a problem of tactics rather than of engineering. 

Surveying their command in October 1944, Sultan and his principal sub- 
ordinates—General Stratemeyer, the airman; General Covell, of the SOS; 
General Tunner, of the ATC; General Davidson, of the Tenth Air Force; 
Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Hanley, Jr., of the India-Burma Air Service Command; 
General Cheves, of Base Section No. 2 (Calcutta); Brig. Gen. John A. 
Warden, of Base Section No. 1 (Karachi); Brig. Gen. Joseph A. Cranston, 
of Intermediate Section No. 2 (Chabua); and General Pick, of Advance Sec- 
tion No. 3 (Ledo)— could feel that the work of the past two years was ap- 
proaching fruition. The power accumulated in and based on India could 
pump supplies into China Theater on a scale equal to the boldest planning 
of the past. 

Supply Activities in India 

Though in October 1944 the supply situation in India gave cause for 
quiet satisfaction, it would not stay that way without effort and attention. 
Perhaps indicative of the difficulties of the past, as of October 1944 CBI had 

62 "SOS in IBT, pp. 6, 160. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



41 



been authorized the highest levels of supply of any overseas command; the 
War Department might soon direct a reduction. 63 

There were also stirrings within the Government of India, upon whose 
generosity via reciprocal aid (or reverse lend-lease) SOS depended heavily. 
In 1942 the War Department had directed that, in view of the shipping 
shortage, the Americans in India should rely on local sources to the utmost, 
and by late 1942 the SOS reported that CBI was living off the land. India 
had co-operated. Now, in late 1944, it appeared to the SOS that reciprocal 
aid was leveling off and more apt to decline than rise. 64 The Government of 
India was becoming increasingly aware of inflationary pressures, and the U.S. 
forces and U.S. -sponsored Chinese divisions in Burma were heavy users of 
consumer goods. Thus, to take but one clothing item, in 1944 the SOS 
received 557,087 pairs of shoes. Among subsistence items— in a country 
which in 1943 had suffered one of the great famines of all time— in 1944 
SOS drew from Indian sources 24,472,293 pounds of meat, fish, and fowl. 65 

In addition to objective physical and financial factors, there were subjec- 
tive and political factors. The cinema had long ago convinced the Indian 
public that the United States was incomparably the richest nation in the 
world; it was difficult to persuade Indian legislators and editors that India 
should share its stocks of food, cloth, and construction materials with the 
Americans, whose rate of pay, munificient by local standards, was making 
them the joy and the salvation of local shopkeepers. 66 

So there were numerous hints from official Indian sources in the summer 
of 1944 that the supply of food and cloth was about to be cut back, and the 
SOS, as the theaters split, was engaged in diplomatically trying to keep the 
flow of reciprocal aid at past levels. 67 Receipts of clothing and subsistence 
were beginning to fall, how far and how fast remained to be seen. In the 
negotiations on reciprocal aid, SOS had one advantage. Beginning October 
1944 the War Department directed that the theater commander screen all 
requests for lend-lease from India Command and SEAC. This responsibility 
was delegated to the SOS, and SOS believed its hand was strengthened ac- 
cordingly in dealings with its British and Indian colleagues. 68 



fi8 SOS in IBT, p. 88. 

64 See StilweW s Mission to China .1 Chapter VI ,1 for a discussion of reciprocal aid in 1942 and 
1943. 

6r> History of IBT, II, chart facing p. 218. 

m (1) History of IBT, I, 24. (2) During his service in India, Sunderland observed this 

attitude in many forms, some most amusing: "So I thought I would borrow your jeep 

What! I thought every American had a jeep!" 

67 See Stiiweii's Command Problems \ Ch. VlT~| 

68 SOS in IBT, pp. 287-90, 272, 285. British and Indian forces in India proper were 
under India Command. 



42 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Jorhat Airfield, one of the U.S. -built airfields in Assam. 



Supplies from the United States were distributed to the several parts of 
the theater through the general depots. High priority items, flown from the 
United States and landed at Karachi, were an ATC responsibility and were 
airlifted by that agency direct to the general depot to which the item was 
consigned. For water-borne supplies, the Calcutta Base General Depot acted 
as a clearing point. Some supplies went from Calcutta to another general 
depot at New Delhi, but most went to the Intermediate General Depot at 
Chabua, Assam. Chabua in turn sent supplies to China Theater via the 
Hump and to north Burma via the Advance General Depot at Ledo. With 
minor exceptions, all SOS, theater, and Chinese troops in India were served 
by the depot of the section in which they were stationed. This system 
seemed too decentralized for effective control of supply stocks, so on 1 
November the depot commanders were placed directly under SOS. 69 

With the split of the CBI Theater, the fact that China Theater was still 
dependent of India-Burma Theater for supplies led to a certain amount of 
confusion, for some individual units in China such as the Burma Road 
Engineers were requisitioning direct on the Chabua depot, while China 
Theater itself was simply forwarding requisitions made on it without con- 
solidating or screening them. In effect, this meant that the clerical staff at 
Chabua was handling much of the paper work for supply of China Theater. 

89 (1) SOS in IBT, p. 98. (2) History of IBT, II, 231. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



43 



Ultimately, this had to be brought to the attention of China Theater for 
remedial action. 70 

But even as the scanty American resources in Asia were being marshaled 
to halt what seemed a grave threat to China, the War Department's planning 
looked ahead to the day when these same resources would be surplus and in 
September 1944 theater commanders were ordered to begin disposing of all 
surplus property except aircraft and items peculiar to aircraft. These sur- 
pluses were to be reported to the Foreign Economic Administration. The 
Chinese and Indian economies had long been starved for goods, and the two 
U.S. theaters had supplies and installations that ranged from emergency 
rations to fully equipped modern hospitals. Both the Government of India 
and the Republic of China would have the liveliest concern in the disposi- 
tion of such surpluses, and would seize on any wartime action as a precedent. 
Indeed, India set up its own India Disposals Board in September 1944, six 
days before the War Department issued its own circular. This board im- 
mediately asked the U.S. diplomatic mission to India for authority to dispose 
of all U.S. surpluses. 

Disposal of U.S. surplus property, though promising a number of com- 
plicated problems for India-Burma Theater, appeared simplicity itself com- 
pared to disposal of surplus lend-lease, for there were several varieties of 
lend-lease, some of it involving four governments. There was reciprocal 
aid to the United States from India; there was British aid to China, e. g., 
vehicles at Ramgarh Training Center; there were U.S.-built airfields in India; 
there was Indian reciprocal aid to China, and U.S. lend-lease to China. In 
the winter of 1944-45 questions about how items in such categories were to 
be set aside for disposition, by whom, and for whose account began to arise; 
theater headquarters followed them closely, either as a party or as an in- 
terested observer to negotiations between the SOS and Indian and British 
authority. 71 

Lend-Lease to China 

With the opening of the Stilwell Road appearing to be a certainty, an 
event that would enable vehicles and artillery to be moved into China in 
quantities, India-Burma Theater's role as the present custodian and eventual 
delivering agent began to assume current operational importance. Originally, 
in 1941 and 1942, lend-lease had been requisitioned on the basis of filling the 
gaps in the equipment of thirty Chinese divisions. In the fall of 1942 
Stilwell had asked War Department approval of a sixty-division program. 
Initially the Department had concurred; then what seemed a lack of Chinese 
interest in the program plus the difficulty of delivering arms led the Depart- 

70 SOS in IBT, pp. 102-03. 

71 History of IBT, II, 242-5 7. 



44 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ment in July 1943 to cut the program back to arms for the first thirty divi- 
sions plus 10 percent of the requirements of the second thirty for training 
purposes. When the CBI Theater split, this was the current program 
approved by the War Department. 72 

During the command crisis that preceded the split of CBI Theater, there 
had been a series of changes in lend-lease procedure, all in the direction of 
putting certain Chinese divisions squarely in U.S. supply channels. If this 
trend continued, if certain of the Generalissimo's best divisions were to 
enjoy the full support of the theater SOS and Army Service Forces, the 
political implications could be great. However, a considerable portion of 
these developments took place in the period July-September 1944 when it 
appeared probable to the War Department and the President that Stilwell 
would have command of a considerable Chinese force in China; it remained 
to be seen if the end of that prospect meant the end of this trend. 

In the spring of 1944 the circumstance that a considerable tonnage of 
lend-lease for China was in Indian stockpiles with no prospect of immediate 
delivery suggested some new approaches to the storage, issue, and delivery 
of lend-lease to Chinese divisions. One was the idea of pooling stocks, with 
both lend-lease and U.S. Army supplies being treated as one stockpile and 
supplies being issued to U.S. and U.S. -sponsored Chinese units as required. 

Another new approach was the "six-months rule," under which lend-lease 
for China could not be requisitioned from depots in the United States unless 
it could be delivered to China within six months. One objection raised by 
theater headquarters to the six- months rule was that the stockpiles in India 
were unbalanced, that there were items needed by the U.S.-sponsored Chinese 
divisions which were not at hand in India and which could not be requisi- 
tioned under the six-months rule, although a sudden and unpredictable 
victory in north Burma might open the way for immediate and substantial 
deliveries to China. But the rule remained in effect and the steady improve- 
ment in the Assam line of communications, which greatly reduced the transit 
time through India, made it appear that the six-months rule would not be 
too great a limiting factor. 

By September 1944 it seemed so obvious the Japanese would soon be 
driven from north Burma and a road opened to the Chinese forces in Yunnan 
that a new and speedier process for requisitioning lend-lease seemed necessary. 
Existing procedure called for clearing bids through the Munitions Assign- 
ments Board. Requisitioning on the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation 
brought supplies to India far more quickly. If lend-lease arms could be 
requisitioned rather than bid for, the rearming of U.S.-sponsored divisions 
would be greatly speeded. Therefore in September 1944 the War Depart- 

72 Tables of Organization and Equipment for the Chinese thirty-three-division programs are 
attached to a letter from Stilwell to Covell, 8 September 1944. OCMH. 



NEW COMMANDERS IN A SPLIT THEATER 



45 



ment permitted drawing replacement and maintenance equipment plus am- 
munition for the Chinese Army in India by requisition on the Los Angeles 
Port of Embarkation. Arms for initial issue would still be bid for through 
the International Division of Army Service Forces in Washington for 
presentation to the Munitions Assignments Board. But the precedent for 
requisition as against bidding was strongly indicated. A month later, on 
6 October, the Munitions Assignments Board approved supply through the 
SOS of medical replacement and maintenance equipment of all U.S.-sponsored 
Chinese divisions with which U.S. medical personnel were working. Sup- 
plies for control of malaria could be drawn from the SOS even by units that 
did not have direct U.S. medical supervision. 

In preparation for the opening of the road to China, the SOS sought to 
have on hand, as of 1 February 1945, for immediate shipment, equipment for 
five divisions plus army troops. SOS planned to deliver this materiel in 
February and to follow with delivery of materiel for two and one-half divi- 
sions every month thereafter, until the current thirty-three-division program 
was complete, and advised China Theater accordingly on 20 November. 73 

73 SOS in IBT, pp. 307-09, 314. 



CHAPTER II 



Wedemeyer Begins His Work in 

China 

After assuming command on 31 October 1944, General Wedemeyer 
proceeded to estimate the situation that faced him in China. The Japanese 
menace was an immediate one. Considering that he had to hold the 
Kunming area, Wedemeyer tried to gauge the intentions of the Japanese 
from their strengths, disposition, and capabilities. Since Wedemeyer had no 
U.S. ground combat forces, any renewed Japanese drive would have to be 
met by the Chinese Army and the Fourteenth Air Force. 

Japanese Plans in American Eyes 

On arriving in Chungking, Wedemeyer began a series of conferences with 
senior Chinese military officials, his principal subordinates, such as General 
Chennault, and his own staff. From these meetings emerged a series of 
recommendations to the Generalissimo for strengthening the Chinese Army, 
an estimate of Japanese plans and intentions, and a plan to hold the vital 
Kunming area. Since the Japanese held the initiative in east China, the first 
reports from China Theater headquarters to General Marshall for the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff began with surveys of the Japanese position vis-a-vis the 
Chinese and the American forces in the Pacific. The intelligence reports 
used by theater headquarters, many of which come from the Forward Echelon, 
Z-Force, placed ten well-equipped Japanese divisions in the area between 
Heng-Yang and Liuchow. It seemed obvious to the Americans that such a 
force had been concentrated with further offensive intent in mind. 1 

A Japanese drive on Kunming from the Kweilin-Liuchow-Nanning area 
did not at first appear imminent to China Theater headquarters but the re- 
sults if the Japanese should take Kunming appeared so grave that such a 



1 Rad CFB 26558, Wedemeyer to Marshall for JCS, 17 Nov 44. Item 6, Wedemeyer Data 
Book. (2) Bowman comments on draft MS of this volume. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



47 



move by the Japanese was an object of "urgent concern" on 6 November. 
Eleven days later the Japanese advance had intensified and Wedemeyer felt 
that he had to "move fast" to stabilize the situation in the Kweilin-Liuchow 
area and prepare the defense of Kunming. If Kunming fell, Wedemeyer 
believed it would mean the end of the Allied effort to save China and to 
maintain air bases in that nation. Wedemeyer warned that the loss of China 
would release twenty-five Japanese divisions for service elsewhere. So 
pessimistic an estimate necessarily assumed that the Japanese would not feel 
the need of more than a token occupation force in China to control a popu- 
lation of 400,000,000 and protect the Japanese position in North China from 
the USSR. 2 

Though Wedemeyer considered a Japanese drive on Kunming his most 
immediate concern, he did not believe that the Japanese were seeking to end 
the war in China by military pressure on the Generalissimo's regime. He 
thought rather that the Japanese were seeking to prepare a "continental in- 
ner-zone defense" to compensate for the loss of their island positions in the 
Pacific. Such a position would comprise the Japanese home islands, For- 
mosa, and Hainan, backed by a wide belt of Asiatic mainland running from 
north Korea to Indochina. Within China proper, the Japanese would seek 
to control everything east of the line Peiping-Hankow-Nanning, inclusive, 
by holding the key rail lines, airfields, waterways, and highways. Within 
such a zone, the Japanese could in the opinion of China Theater headquar- 
ters organize a withdrawal route in coastal waters and another over the main- 
land of China whereby troops and materiel could be evacuated from the 
south, e. g., Malaya and Burma, for a final stand in the inner zone. 

Effective possession of this great band of Chinese territory appeared to 
open many opportunities whereby the Japanese might increase their capabili- 
ties against the forces of Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur as more 
and more of them approached the Japanese homeland. From safe airfields 
deep in the interior of China, Japanese bombers could stage through coastal 
airfields, attack U.S. task forces, then retire again to fields beyond the range 
of U.S. carrier aircraft. This belt of Japanese airfields would also interpose 
a barrier of fighters against Chennault's aircraft if, from bases in west China, 
they tried to attack Japanese shipping. Japanese divisions could be shifted 
up and down the coastal corridor to meet any developing American invasion 
threat. 3 

2 (1) Rad CFB 25612, Wedemeyer to Marshall info Sultan, 6 Nov 44. Item 6 Wede- 
meyer Data Book. (2) Rad cited n. 1. (3) Rad CFB 25545, Wedemeyer to Chennault 
5 Nov 44. Item 29, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 

(1) Rad cited n. 2(1). (2) Commenting on the passage above, a group of senior Japa- 
nese officers said that Chennault's operations made it impossible for them to shift divisions 
about as feared by China Theater. And they planned to reinforce the south, not to evacuate 
it. Japanese Officers' Comments on draft MS of this volume. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



49 



Lending confirmation to this belief that Japan was staking out such a 
continental belt was the opinion in China Theater headquarters that more 
Japanese divisions had arrived in east China. 4 

The Japanese Side of the Hill 

The Japanese forces whose future plans China Theater sought to discern 
were organized as China Expeditionary Army, General Yasuji Okamura com- 
manding. They numbered about 820,000 in November 1944 and were 
organized into 25 infantry divisions of very uneven quality, 1 armored divi- 
sion, 11 independent infantry brigades, 1 cavalry brigade, and 10 independent 
mixed brigades. Under General Okamura were three principal formations, 
North China Area Army, holding the north China plain from the Yellow 
River to the Great Wall; the 6th Area Army, which was conducting the 
operations against the Chinese and Americans in east China; and the 13th 
Army, which held the lower Yangtze valley and the great port city of 



Shanghai. (Map 3) 



North China Area Army had three missions: training, occupying the north 
China plain, and watching the Soviet forces in the Far East. It had three 
subordinate army headquarters, the 1st, 12th, and Mongolian, and 8 infantry 
divisions, 1 armored division, 1 cavalry brigade, 4 independent infantry bri- 
gades, and 6 independent mixed brigades. The 8 infantry divisions were 
"Class C," with no artillery. 

The 13th Army, with 4 divisions and 2 brigades, trained itself, occupied 
the Shanghai area, and prepared for the day when the Americans might try 
to land in the Yangtze valley. 

The 6th Area Army, under Okamura himself, comprised the 11th, 20th, 
23d and 34th Armies, with 13 divisions, 6 independent infantry brigades, and 
3 independent mixed brigades. Here was the Japanese elite force, 3 "Class 
A" divisions with 36 cannon each, 5 "Class B," with 24 cannon each. This 
was the force whose intentions so disturbed China Theater headquarters. 
The 23d Army, considering itself relieved of garrison duties by an arrange- 
ment with the local Chinese commander, General Yu Han-mou, was driving 
north and west from the Canton-Hong Kong area with 2 divisions. The 
11th Army controlled the stretch of rail and river south of Hsin-shih and 
Yueh-yang with 7 divisions, and was approaching Kweilin. The 34th Army, 
a garrison force, with 1 division and 4 brigades, held the vital Hankow area, 
supply base and headquarters for Okamuia, against the 55 Chinese divisions 
of the Generalissimo's V and VI War Areas.'' 

A Rad cited n. 1. 

• (1) Japanese Studies in World War II (hereafter, Japanese Study-), 129. OCMH. 
(2) Chinese Order of Battle. Item 13, Wedemeyer Data Book. The Order of Battle is dated 
I January 1945, but the divisions stayed where they were in 1944. (3) Ltr, Col Preston J. C. 
Murphy. Chief Mil Hist Soc FECOM, to Ward, 18 Nov 52. OCMH. 



50 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The basic plan under which the Japanese now fought their war was 
denominated by the Japanese character SHO, meaning "to conquer." When, 
in the summer of 1944, the situation Japan faced appeared grave in the ex- 
treme, Japan's leaders resolved to launch every available resource in a great 
counterattack by sea, land, and air that would hit the American forces as they 
were engaged in the complicated and hazardous task of establishing them- 
selves ashore somewhere in Japan's inner defense zone of the western Pacific. 
They called their riposte the SHO Operation. The Japanese estimated that 
any one of four different areas might be struck by the American forces, and 
as many variants of SHO were prepared. It was the supreme operation, and 
Imperial General Headquarters gave it first priority. Therefore, Okamura had 
to detach two divisions for SHO, while the Japanese forces in Manchuria were 
drawn on heavily indeed. If the Soviet Union entered the war, China Expedi- 
tionary Army would have to release from 10 to 20 more divisions. 6 

When SHO was framed, China Expeditionary Army had been engaged in 
occupying the east China airfields, the ICHIGO Operation. Visiting Oka- 
mura's headquarters in September 1944, Col. Takushiro Hattori of Imperial 
General Headquarters stated that, far from lessening ICHIGO's importance, the 
imminent prospect of beginning the SHO Operation made it ever more im- 
portant to complete ICHIGO. In Hattori's opinion, which was taken by his 
auditors as echoing that of higher realms in Tokyo, the success of ICHIGO 
would — by taking the east China fields — force U.S. aircraft from China bases 
to confine their operations to the west until such time as SHO's outcome was 
apparent. So the 6th Area Army made detailed plans to complete ICHIGO 
by taking Kweilin and Liuchow, tentative date early November 1944, and 
hoped in the process to cut off some of the Chinese defenders. After 
Kweilin and Liuchow were taken, the Canton-Hankow railway would be 
cleared of all barriers, and the Suichuan group of airfields destroyed. This 
latter piece of territory was not to be held. 7 

In mid-October, Okamura directed that the Suichuan airfields be taken as 
soon as possible after occupation of Liuchow and Kweilin, though this was 
in compliance with Tokyo's orders rather than with local Japanese military 
opinion. Then the American task forces were sighted heading for Leyte, and 

f ( 1 ) The brief summary above does far less than justice to the complicated and detailed 
SHO Operation. The connection between SHO and Japanese operations in China in summer 
1944 is outlined in Stilwell's Command Problems, \ Chapter XI. | (2) For a longer account see 
Japanese Study_ 72, Part V. (3) For the naval side, see James A. Field, The Japanese at Leyte 
Gulf: the SHO Operation (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1947) and C. Vann 
Woodward, The Battle for Leyte Gulf (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1947). (4) The 
strategy of the Pacific war will be more fully treated by Louis Morton, in Command, Strategy, 
and Logistics, a Pacific subseries volume in preparation in the series UNITED STATES ARMY 
IN WORLD WAR II. 

7 Japanese Study 129, pp. 53-56. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



51 



on 18 October Tokyo ordered the SHO Operation to begin. 8 When Wede- 
meyer assumed command on 31 October, SHO was under way. The naval 
part of SHO had failed; the air part was failing, but the Japanese were doing 
their utmost to reinforce and support their Philippine garrison, and continued 
their efforts for many weeks. 

The Japanese in Manchuria and Korea were being used as a troop pool 
from which to reinforce garrisons in the central and south Pacific. In the 
latter half of 1944, 6 infantry divisions, 1 armored division, 2 independent 
mixed brigades, and most of the stock of reserve materiel were shipped out 
and only partially replaced by 5 newly activated divisions. 9 

As for China, Imperial General Headquarters had no intent to take Kun- 
ming or end the war, nor was it trying to create a continental fortress. 
Chinese territory did not attract the Japanese leaders. Their orders to Oka- 
mura showed that his armies would be used aggressively in a mobile role: 
if possible, to forestall Allied moves, as they now sought, by occupying the 
east China airfields, to prevent interference with SHO or the bombing of 
Japan from Chinese bases; if necessary, to counter Allied moves, as shown 
by the warning to Okamura that if the Soviet Union entered the war from 
10 to 20 of his divisions would have to be moved to Manchuria. Therefore, 
the strategy of Imperial General Headquarters in November 1944 was not quite 
what China Theater headquarters concluded from the menacing Japanese 
dispositions in south China. The Japanese forces on the mainland of Asia 
had missions rather more limited than those with which the Americans 
credited them. 

Wedemeyer's Reactions to the Chinese Scene 

There were two points requiring Wedemeyer's immediate attention — the 
defense of the Kweilin airfield, if possible, and the absolutely vital holding 
of Kunming. On taking command, Wedemeyer lost no time in becoming 
acquainted with his Chinese superior, the Generalissimo, and with the Gen- 
eralissimo's staff. Could Kweilin be held, Wedemeyer asked the General- 
issimo and his staff. What resources could be mustered by the Chinese to 
stop the Japanese short of a major victory? In discussions with his staff, 
Chennault, and the Chinese, Wedemeyer also sought to learn why the east 
China fields had been lost. And he made his appraisal of China's leaders, 
which he reported to Marshall and the War Department. 



8 (1) Col Takushiro Hattori, Imperial General Headquarters. Army Depart ment, Operations 
Section, 1 June 1948. Statements of Japanese Officials, I, p. 324. OCMH. I (See Bibliograph- 

ical Note.) (2) Japanese Study 129, p. 59. 

Japanese Study 72, p. 148. 



52 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Wedemeyer found no air of alarm or urgency in the Chinese Government. 
Initially, he reported the Chinese to be "apathetic and unintelligent." 10 
Three weeks later, he found his Chinese colleagues still in a state of apathy 
with regard to the Japanese. If the Chinese had more accurate information 
regarding Japanese intentions, they either kept it to themselves or failed to 
convince Wedemeyer that it was valid. He judged their apathy to be an 
indication of inward impotence and of confusion on the part of the General- 
issimo and his advisers: 



3. In previous radios I have suggested that the Chinese attitude was apathetic. This 
remains true; however, I have now concluded that the Generalissimo and his adherents 
realize seriousness of situation but they are impotent and confounded. They are not 
organized, equipped, and trained for modern war. Psychologically they are not prepared 
to cope with the situation because of political intrigue, false pride, and mistrust of leaders' 
honesty and motives. . . . Frankly, I think that the Chinese officials surrounding the 
Generalissimo are actually afraid to report accurately conditions for two reasons, their 
stupidity and inefficiency are revealed, and further the Generalissimo might order them to 
take positive action and they are incompetent to issue directives, make plans, and fail 
completely in obtaining execution by field commanders." 

The Chinese methods of making war appeared ineffective to Wedemeyer. 
He found that the Chinese had no one commander responsible for the con- 
duct of operations in east China. Instead, the Chinese staff at Chungking 
tried to control everything. In many cases, he believed they simply assumed 
a situation and issued orders accordingly, even though there might be little 
connection between their imaginings and the actual state of affairs. And so 
the Chinese armies marched and countermarched futilely. The orders from 
Chungking were not part of any plan; indeed, to Wedemeyer it seemed that 
"the disorganization and muddled planning of the Chinese is beyond com- 
prehension." Every commitment of Chinese troops to battle was made 
piecemeal. There was neither co-operation nor co-ordination between Chi- 
nese senior commanders in adjacent areas. As for the Chinese divisions 
themselves, Wedemeyer, like Stilwell, believed that at best their leadership 
was mediocre. Unit training appeared to be of a low standard. There was 
no effective replacement system. The men often lacked equipment and food. 12 

A few days later, Wedemeyer stated that a "sound replacement program 
simply does not exist for there are so many officials involved with their nar- 

10 Quotation from radio cited n. 1. 

11 Rad CFB 28167, Wedemeyer to Marshall for JCS, 4 Dec 44. Item 6, Wedemeyer Data 
Book. 

12 (1) Wedemeyer's first analysis of the Chinese ideas of war is in radio cited n. 2(1). 
It reflects a study by Colonel Taylor, G-3, 3 November 1944, sub: Reorientation of Chinese- 
American Effort in China. OCMH. (2) Quotation from Rad CFB 2 5886, Wedemeyer to 
Marshall, 10 Nov 44. Item 58, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



53 




Nationalist Chinese Soldiers marching to the front, Kwangsi Province, November 
1944. 



row and unscrupulous self-interest that it has not been possible to mobilize 
[the Chinese] forces in an efficient manner." 13 

In talking to the Generalissimo and the Chinese staff, Wedemeyer found 
it hard to learn just what the Chinese could or would do to defend any one 
position or to venture attacks on limited local objectives. When Wede- 
meyer arrived in Chungking, the Japanese offered an imminent threat to 
Kweilin. It appeared possible the Chinese could hold that city with its vital 
airfield. The newly arrived Chinese 97th Army held what seemed strong 
positions above Kweilin. They were reported to be well fed and well 
equipped. There was plenty of time for them to dig in, and Wedemeyer on 
his arrival had rushed U.S. officers to the 97th Army to assist them in pre- 
paring their positions. The Generalissimo and his staff were positive that 
the Kweilin-Liuchow area would be held for two months if the Japanese 



13 Rad cited |n. 12(2)7] 



54 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



attacked and the Generalissimo so assured Wedemeyer "categorically." U.S. 
observers on the scene may have been less confident, for many years later one 
of them recalled having noted very bad feeling between the 97th Army and 
General Chang Fa-kwei, as well as faulty dispositions at Kweilin. 14 

While conferring with his own staff and the Chinese, Wedemeyer made 
his estimate of the situation within the American organization. The long- 
continued differences between Chennault and Stilwell had left their mark in 
bad feelings among their subordinates. Therefore the situation Wedemeyer 
found in his headquarters seemed to be "rife with dissension and disorgani- 
zation." He later concluded that many members of Stilwell's old staff had 
had "a defeatist attitude, non-cooperative spirit and ideas of suspicion in their 
relations with other headquarters." In remodeling his organization, Wede- 
meyer attached importance to having more airmen assist him as staff officers, 
a clear indication of his sympathetic approach to the air force. 15 

Though on the eve of his assuming command Wedemeyer had expressed 
forebodings over the co-operation he might receive from Chennault, he lost 
no time in approaching the latter with a request for a conference. 16 The 
prospects for co-operation between the two men were excellent, for the pas- 
sage of time had removed many of the issues that had tended to divide Stil- 
well and Chennault. It was no longer possible to argue that Japan could be 
defeated by 137 China-based tactical aircraft. 17 Nor could the Generalissimo 
now have such faith in his Army as to renew his promises of April 1943 that 
the "existing Chinese Forces" could defend the east China fields, for those 
airfields had fallen into Japanese hands after one battle. 18 The bitter debates 
over who should receive what share of Hump tonnage were becoming just 
an unpleasant memory, for the Air Transport Command was delivering ton- 
nage in impressive and increasing quantities. 

There were also favorable factors on the personal side. For whatever 
reason, perhaps his customary reticence, perhaps his sharp differentiation 
among his many command posts in CBI, Stilwell did not take Chennault 
into his confidence as to what he would have liked to do in China. In such 
a situation, rumor and the personal interest of subordinates and outsiders 
seem to have flourished. Wedemeyer, making no distinction between his 
several roles in China, brought Chennault into many of his conferences with 

14 (1) Rad cited | n. lTT| (2) Bowman comments on draft MS. 

15 (1) Wedemeyer's comments on the staff he inherited are in a letter, Wedemeyer to Mar- 
shall, 13 April 1945. Case 45, OPD 319.1 TS, Sec. I. (2) Rad CFB 25485, Wedemeyer to 
Arnold, 4 Nov 44. Item 45, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 

16 Rad CFB 25545, Wedemeyer to Chennault, 5 Nov 44. Item 29, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 

17 Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault, USA, Ret., Way of a Fighter: The Memoirs of Claire Lee 
Chennault (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1949), p. 212. 

18 The Generalissimo's personal assurances to the President were in an incl osure to a letter, 
T. V. Soong to Harry L. Hopkins, 29 April 1943. Stilwell's Mission to China \ Ch. IX. | 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



55 




Chinese Refugees Evacuating Liuchow 



the Generalissimo and kept both Chennault and Chennault's staff fully in- 
formed of what he was recommending to the Chinese. 

The Japanese Begin To Threaten 

The Japanese headquarters immediately responsible for operations in east 
China was the 6th Area Army. It in turn ordered the 11th and 23d Armies 
to converge on the Kweilin-Liuchow area from north and south. The 11th 
Army requested and obtained permission to secure the area around Kweilin, 
and China Expeditionary Army approved, providing "only short advances were 
to be made." However, 11th Army had ambitious schemes of its own. 19 

Japanese operations resumed over 27 and 28 October. The 11th Army, 
using four divisions and a company of tanks, made steady progress, and was 
swinging its left flank toward the south in order to cut off Kweilin from that 



19 Japanese Study 130, pp. 2-3. 



56 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



direction. The 23d Army, with two divisions, was coming up toward Liu- 
chow from the south. The Japanese believed Kweilin to be defended by 
two armies, Liuchow, only by the 62d. After considering his situation, the 
aggressive commander of the 11th Army decided to take Kweilin and Liu- 
chow simultaneously, though he had been repeatedly told that for reasons of 
prestige the 23d Army would take Liuchow. The Japanese were plagued 
with communications problems and 6th Area Army could not restrain the 
impetuous 11th. So, even as the Generalissimo was assuring Wedemeyer 
that Kweilin and Liuchow would hold two months, 11th Army was prepar- 
ing to take the conduct of ICHIGO into its own hands. 20 

With the approach of the Japanese, the Chinese evacuated the garrisons 
of Kweilin and Liuchow on 10 November. Little resistance was offered, 
according to Wedemeyer's information, which he promptly passed to the 
Generalissimo. 21 So much was still within the frame of ICHIGO, and within 
the propaganda with which the Japanese had preceded and accompanied that 
operation to the effect that ICHIGO was aimed only at the U.S. airfields in 
east China, and not at the Chinese forces. 22 Taking both Kweilin and Liu- 
chow, and leaving Lt. Gen. Shinichi Tanaka of the 23d Army to think of the 
glories he might have won by a more speedy advance, the 11th Army now 
took matters into its own hands and began a rapid advance north and west 
towards Kweichow Province. 23 

ALPHA: Beginning an Attempt To Save 

Three days after the Japanese took Kweilin and Liuchow Wedemeyer 
had his first formal meeting with the Generalissimo and the latter's senior 
assistants. The approach Wedemeyer took to the formalities, the mechanics 
of the meeting, was characteristic, and different from Stilwell's. Stilwell had 
rigidly separated his post of Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander, 
China Theater, from his post of Commanding General, China, Burma and 
India Theater. The minutes of his meetings with the Generalissimo Stil- 
well kept to himself; usually not until the last was his U.S. staff aware of his 
plans for China. Wedemeyer, on the contrary, normally had his own chief 
of staff attend his meetings with the Generalissimo and he was always at- 
tended by other American officers. Minutes of the meetings were kept with 
care and instead of being isolated were filed in with the other top secret 

-"Japanese Study 130, pp. 24, 27, and 28. 

21 Rad cite djn. 11. | 

22 Ltr, Col Miller, Exec Officer Mil Hist Sec FECOM, to Gen Ward, 29 Apr 52, with at- 
tached papers of ex-Maj Gen Kitaru Togo, former Chief, Intel Sec, Gen Hq, China Expedition- 
ary Army, OCMH. 

23 Japanese Study 130, pp. 26 and 30. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



57 



documents of U.S. theater headquarters. 24 Therefore, whatever might hap- 
pen, Wedemeyer would have witnesses and records aplenty in his own head- 
quarters to document his every word in conference with the Generalissimo, 
and these records would be easily accessible to every qualified seeker after in- 
formation. For his part, the Generalissimo often brought T. V. Soong, who 
in the fall of 1944 and 1945 was Prime Minister, to attend the meetings. 
Often General Hurley attended on the U.S. side. 

Plans and staff studies from the old CBI Theater headquarters offered the 
material from which Wedemeyer's staff could prepare his proposals to the 
Generalissimo. The geography and the contending forces were not changed 
by Stil well's recall; ideas worked out by the CBI planners in the summer of 
1944 were still applicable. Cols. William M. Creasy, Thomas F. Taylor, 
Harold C. Donnelly, and Dean Rusk, in New Delhi and Chungking, had 
spent many months on plans to establish a secure base in the Kunming area, 
then for a drive to the coast to open a port in the Canton-Hong Kong area. 

Approving their suggestions, Stilwell on 18 September had urged the 
Generalissimo to concentrate the defeated east China divisions in the 
Kweiyang area for reorganization, rearming, and training, and on 22 Septem- 
ber warned his staff and principal subordinates that he contemplated moving 
the victorious Chinese forces from north Burma and the Salween front to 
Kweiyang. Once this concentration was completed, Stilwell, assuming that 
he would then be field commander of the Chinese forces, had contemplated 
massing 63,000 redeployed Chinese troops plus 183,000 more Chinese in 30 
divisions, stiffening them with a reinforced U.S. army corps and two long- 
range penetration groups, and driving for the coast. 

Colonel Taylor, who was familiar with these plans, was Wedemeyer's G-3 
in the early days of China Theater. Colonel Creasy gave copies of the old 
CBI plans to Wedemeyer as the latter was preparing to leave Ceylon for his 
new assignment in China. 25 

The speediest possible planning and organizing appeared necessary to 
theater headquarters if Kunming was to be secure against the Japanese. 

24 In addition to keeping minutes of his conferences with the Generalissimo and other 
Chinese officers, Wedemeyer contined Stillwell's system of preparing, numbering, and dispatch- 
ing memorandums to the Chinese on items of mutual concern. Wedemeyer, during the time 
he served as Chief of Staff to the Generalissimo, presented over a thousand such papers. For 
details on Wedemeyer's file of memorandums to the Chinese, including many Chinese replies, 
see the Bibliographical Note. 

2:> (1) Stilwell' s Command Problems. Chs. | Xlj anc ^ XIl] (2) Memo, Stilwell for Generalis- 
simo, 18 Sep 44. Stilwell Documents, Hoover Library. (See Bibliographical Note.) (3) 
Memo, Stilwell for Stratemeyer, sub: Outline of Proposed Future Opns in China, 22 Sep 44. 
Folder 10, Hq AAF IBT, USAF CBI, Stratemeyer Files, KCRC. (4) Ltr, Maj Gen William 
M. Creasy, Chief Chemical Officer, to Col George G. O'Connor, Chief, War Histories Div, 
OCMH, 16 Jun 54. OCMH. (5) Ltrs, Col Taylor to Maj Gen Albert C. Smith, Chief Mil 
Hist, 1, 9 Jun 54. OCMH. 



58 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Theater headquarters, in close co-operation with the President's representa- 
tive, General Hurley, began drafting a series of proposals which if adopted 
by the Chinese would offer the chance of a more effective defense. The sug- 
gestions called for a rapid concentration of Chinese troops south and east of 
Kunming and for a command structure that would permit a co-ordinated 
defense. The code name for the operations comprised in the plan was 
Alpha. 26 In addition, Wedemeyer and his staff spent many hours assisting 
Hurley in the latter's efforts to bring about co-operation between the Chinese 
Government and the Communists, for they believed Communist military aid 
could assist materially in stopping the Japanese advance. 27 

Basically, the old CBI plan which had been drafted in August and Sep- 
tember 1944 called for first priority to defense of the Kunming area, since its 
loss, entailing as it would loss of the Hump air terminals, would be decisive, 
while loss of Chungking, seat of the Generalissimo's wartime government, 
though deplorable and disastrous, would not be fatal. 28 It was now time 
for General Wedemeyer, as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek, to present a 
tactical plan to the Chinese for their consideration. Having adopted the code 
name Alpha— a term which had been applied in the CBI plan to the defense 
of Kunming— Wedemeyer first presented a detailed plan to the Generalissimo 
on 21 November 1944. 29 This plan was divided into several phases. The 
period to 31 December 1944 was set for Phase I of Alpha, in which the 
Chinese forces in contact with the Japanese in south and southeast China 
would try to slow their advance. The Americans would assist in demoli- 
tions, help plan prepared positions, and give the maximum of air support. 
American officers would fill liaison and advisory roles with the Chinese Army 
down through division level. Other Americans would work closely with the 
operations, intelligence, and supply officers of higher Chinese headquarters. 
Plainly, the mission of Phase I was to win time within which to complete a 
concentration for defense of Kunming. 

In Phase II, Chinese forces would be placed across the principal avenues 
of approach to Kunming while a central reserve would be built up around 
Kunming itself. To guarantee the availability of dependable Chinese troops 
two divisions of the Chinese Army in India would be flown in from Burma, 
together with the 53d Army from the Salween front. About 87,500 troops 
would be brought to the Kunming area from less menaced sectors of China. 

Alpha, as the term was used at the time and is here used, refers not only to a series of 
tactical plans, so designated, but to the preparatory measures adopted to support, in its suc- 
cessive phases, theater planning to take a major port on the China coast. 

27 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VI. (2) Gen McClure, Memo for Record. Commu- 
nist File, 06104-M, 3 Nov- 10 Dec 44, T-49-20 CBI, DRB AGO. 

- s Memo and Ltrs cited n. 25(3), (4), (5). 

29 (1) Min, Mtg 1, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 13 Nov 44. (2) Min, Mtg 3, Wede- 
meyer with Generalissimo, 21 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



59 




The planners sought to place a Chinese force capable of meeting the most 
likely Japanese threat across each avenue of approach. In the Chihkiang area 
there would be two divisions. There would be two more at Li-ping to block 
the Japanese threat from Kweilin. The vital Tushan-Kweiyang area, whose 
possession would give the Japanese the option of attacks on Kunming or 
Chungking, would receive six divisions. Three divisions at Poseh (Pai-se) 
would have the mission of stopping a Japanese drive west from Nanning. 
Six divisions in southern Yunnan would complete the ring and bar any 
Japanese drive north from Indochina. 30 Reserve forces, each of three divi- 
sions, would be placed in the Kweiyang, An-nan (Ching-lung), and Meng- 
tzu areas. A ten-division reserve would be built up around Kunming. 
(Map 4) 

The prospect of a favorable outcome of these recommendations was prob- 
ably increased by the fact that a Chinese general of good reputation, General 
Tang En-po, was en route to the Kweiyang area. As a result of a series of 



(1) Rad cited |n. 11. | (2) Ltr. cited |n. 25(TT] 



60 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



conferences in east China in September and October between Stilwell, 
Chennault, Brig. Gens. Thomas S. Timberman and Malcolm D. Lindsey, 
Colonel Bowman of Z-Force, Brig. Gen. Casey Vincent of the Fourteenth 
Air Force, and Generals Chang Fa-kwei and Pai Chung-hsi, General Pai had 
visited Chungking to present the consensus of the Allied field commanders 
to the Generalissimo. Bowman later concluded that as a result of General 
Pai's good offices General Tang was sent to the front. 31 

The command provisions of Alpha reflected the belief long held by the 
staff of theater headquarters that the Chinese would benefit immeasurably if 
their operations were conducted by a responsible commander in the field 
rather than by telephone, letter, telegram, and radio from Chungking. 32 
Alpha provided for a Chinese Supreme Commander and staff to command 
the assigned Chinese troops. U.S. officers were to act as deputies to the 
Supreme Commander, to the commander of each sector, and to the com- 
mander of the general reserve. Each of the American deputies would have 
a complete U.S. staff whose members would work with their Chinese 
opposite numbers. Training would be conducted by the Americans. 

To provide an organization for the American liaison and training per- 
sonnel who were to assist the Chinese, Wedemeyer grouped the Y-FOS and 
Z-FOS staffs, training groups, liaison teams, and the existing service schools 
into the Chinese Training and Combat Command, activated 17 November 
1944, General Dorn, commanding. Dorn had been Stilwell's aide in the 
First Burma Campaign; his last major post had been Chief of Staff, Y-FOS, 
so he was the senior American staff officer on the Salween front. 33 

Supply and transport received careful attention, for theater headquarters 
believed the Chinese Army in China had suffered from Chinese neglect of 
such prosaic but necessary aspects of war. A Chinese was to be supply 
officer to the Supreme Commander, assisted by a deputy from the U.S. Serv- 
ices of Supply. This latter officer would control transport. In the lower 
echelons of command, supply problems would be handled by the Chinese 
commanders assisted by their American deputies. 34 

Having accepted Alpha as the first step in carrying out his directive to 
advise and assist the Chinese, Wedemeyer turned to his next tasks— persuad- 
ing the Chinese to adopt Alpha and, once they had, persuading them to 
carry it out. 

31 Bowman comments on dr aft MS. 

? '- Stilwell's Mission to China, [Ch. Vj and Stilwell's Command Problems. [Part Three] 
i:i (1) Rpt, Gen Dorn, CG CT&CC, to Wedemeyer, 1 Jan 45, sub: Hist Rpt of CT&CC 
(Y-FOS and Z-Force) 2 5 Oct 44-31 D ec 44. OCMH. (2) Informatio n on Dorn's role in 
CBI is given m \Stilwell's Mission to Lhina\ &nd \Stilwell's Command Probl ems 

34 Rad cited n. 2(1). (2) Memo, Marshall for President, 20 Dec 44. Item 20, WDCSA 
091, China (20 Dec 44). (3) Min, Mtgs 3, 5, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 21, 27 Nov 
44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Rad CFB 27895, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 5 Dec 44. 
(5) History of China Theater, Ch. VI, p. 14. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



61 




General Dorn, commanding the new Chinese Training and Combat Command, with 
General Wei Li-huang (left), Commanding General, Chinese Expeditionary Forces, and 
General Ho Ying-chin, Commanding General, ALPHA Forces, 27 November 1944. 



Chinese Reactions to ALPHA 

The Chinese reaction of November-December to the complicated Alpha 
plan was equally complex; some parts of it appeared to be accepted, some 
the Chinese modified to suit themselves, and some received formal approval 
only to be quietly disregarded later. That the Chinese did not accept Alpha 
as a whole had its effect on operations, because the plan was as integrated 
as a piece of machinery; the discard or alteration of any part had its effect on 
the workings of the whole. So it was a mixed picture that unfolded before 
Wedemeyer and his staff, a blend of progress, passive acceptance, inertia, and 
outright rejection. 

The initial discussions of 13 and 16 November, before the formal pre- 
sentation of Alpha, concerned issues of deployment and command, which 
had their place in Alpha but which were also measures to meet the immedi- 
ate threat to Kunming. Toward the issue of rushing troops south from the 
Hsian front, where considerable Nationalist forces watched the Chinese Com- 



62 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



munists, the Generalissimo showed a certain coolness. He remarked that 
since Kweilin and Liuchow had fallen, and since these troops were originally 
intended to reinforce the garrisons of the two cities, there was no need for 
haste. The Kweiyang airfield, their destination, should be repaired, which 
he thought would take thirty days, and the men could then be flown direct 
to their destination rather than by way of Chanyi or Peishiyi. 

Successful execution of Alpha depended completely on whether the 
Chinese forces to confront the Japanese would resist. Wedemeyer regarded 
this as an unknown factor; "We can throw in great numbers of troops at 
tremendous cost logistically, but we do not know whether the Chinese will 
stick and fight." So Wedemeyer concluded that two of the Chinese divi- 
sions Stilwell had trained and equipped would have to be flown from Burma. 
He decided that nothing but what he thought the best would serve, the 22d 
and 38th Divisions, and requested the Generalissimo to approve their recall. 
The Generalissimo agreed, adding that he himself had thought of recalling 
two divisions. The next step was to arrange co-ordination of the transfer 
with Admiral Mountbatten's Southeast Asia Command, which would be 
affected by removing these troops. 35 

As for the creation of an effective command structure for China Theater, 
the Generalissimo agreed to the most important points, for which Stilwell 
had so long argued, that there should be a single responsible field commander 
and a combined Sino- American staff for the Alpha troops. 36 

If the Generalissimo was willing to give what the Americans regarded as 
normal command responsibilities to whoever became field commander, that 
would end the Chinese practice of attempting to conduct campaigns in 
minutest detail from Chungking. A Sino- American staff for the Alpha plan 
would mean that the Generalissimo, through his U.S. chief of staff, General 
Wedemeyer, would have a suitable instrument through which to exercise his 
responsibilities as Supreme Commander, China Theater, and that Wedemeyer, 
unlike Stilwell, would be permitted a Sino- American staff to help him. 37 In 
practice, what followed were conferences, much like those of the Anglo- 
American Combined Chiefs of Staff, which decided what agency would take 
action. Not for many months were staff sections created. 

36 (1) Quotation from Memo cited n. | 34(2)1 (2) Min of Mtgs 1, 2, 4, Wede meyer with 
Generalissimo, 13, 16, 24 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (3) Rad cited |"n~~34 (4 ) | 

36 (1) For the Soong-Stimson accor d of January 1942 on a Sino- American staff for China 
Theater, see Stilwell' s Mission to China, [Chapter 11| (2) For Stil well's views on the need for 
a responsib le field commander and a Sino- American staff, see Stilwell' s Mission to China, 

| Chapter V. | 

37 (1) The Generalissimo's permission to set up a combined staff for Alpha was given at 
his second formal meeting with Wedemeyer, 16 November 1944. On 24 November Wede- 
meyer limited its role to Alpha. Min, Mtgs 1, 2, 4, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 13, 16, 
24 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (2) Min. Combined Staff Mtgs 84, 85, on 20. 
22 Jan 45. DRB AGO. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



63 



The Generalissimo's reaction to Alpha's command proposals, that a most 
highly qualified Chinese officer be placed in charge of operations in the field 
and that he be responsible for their conduct, had its effect on the movements 
of Chinese troops, an effect some weeks in appearing. Wedemeyer had been 
impressed by General Chen Cheng, and suggested to the Generalissimo that 
he be chosen to execute the Alpha plan. The Generalissimo told Wede- 
meyer he would consider appointing Chen to this vital position though he 
would prefer to make him Minister of War. A few days later, on 21 Novem- 
ber, when Wedemeyer formally presented Alpha to the Generalissimo he 
stressed the importance of having China's best general to execute Alpha. In 
reply, the Generalissimo said he would appoint General Ho Ying-chin, the 
current Chief of Staff, to the post. "Asked if he realized that this was the 
most important job in China today and ... if General Ho Ying-chin was 
his best choice, the Generalissimo said that an able United States deputy 
would help." Twice more the Americans asked the Generalissimo if Ho was 
his best choice, and each time the Chinese leader said yes. 38 

To Wedemeyer, the appointment was "a decided blow." Raising the 
matter again with the Generalissimo "as forcefully as [he] could to the Head 
of a State," he received the answer that Ho had been appointed because he 
was China's outstanding general. So Wedemeyer did what he could to 
bolster Ho. General McClure, Wedemeyer's new chief of staff, became Ho's 
deputy. The appointment of a competent Chinese, General Hsiao I-hsu, 
formerly chief of staff to the Chinese Salween forces, as Ho's chief of staff 
was arranged. General Dorn, who had worked closely with General Hsiao 
on the Salween, was detailed as Hsiao's adviser. Other Americans were 
detailed to work with Ho's projected staff, in the intelligence, operations, 
supply, medical, engineer, and signal sections. 39 

Therefore, the suggestion of China Theater headquarters that General 
Chen Cheng be field commander was not accepted by the Generalissimo, 
but the latter was willing to create the post of field commander. The sig- 
nificance of this step would lie in the Generalissimo's willingness to permit 
General Ho actually to exercise command in the field. In the past, the 
Generalissimo had on two occasions granted field command to an American 
officer, General Stilwell, then sent to the latter's Chinese subordinates a 
number of letters and radios countermanding Stilwell's orders, of which 
Stilwell learned only as his orders were disregarded. If the Generalissimo 
followed his past practice the result would be substantially to nullify Ho's 
new appointment. So the Generalissimo's actions immediately after 21 

38 Min, Mtg 3, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 21 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

39 (1) Rad cited |n. 34 (4) | (2) Wedemeyer comments on draft MS. 



64 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



November would indicate his thoughts about Alpha much more accurately 
than would his oral expression. 40 

Meanwhile, the Japanese supplied arguments for the speedy execution of 
Alpha. Their propaganda had stressed that theirs was a limited campaign, 
aimed only at the east China airfields and, as has been noted, the Generalis- 
simo himself thought that the loss of Kweilin and Liuchow ended any 
urgency of moving up reinforcements. Moreover, Japanese higher head- 
quarters had specified that pursuit should not go far beyond the Kweilin- 
Liuchow area. Then the 11th Army began to act independently. In late 
November 1944 elements of its 3d and 13th Divisions drove rapidly and 
steadily in a northwesterly direction. About 28 November they crossed the 
provincial border, where they had been ordered by higher authority to halt, 
and kept right on into Kweichow. 41 

Strengthening the Chinese Forces 

After proposing Alpha to provide an effective command system for and 
deployment of the Chinese forces, theater headquarters suggested a number 
of steps to increase the resistance that the Chinese might offer a Japanese 
offensive aimed at Kunming or Chungking. These included the provision 
of replacements to bring the Chinese divisions in Kwangsi and Kweichow 
Provinces back to strength, better rations to end the malnutrition that so 
severely affected the physical capacity of the Chinese soldier to march and 
fight, efficient use of existing transport facilities, returning Chinese troops 
from Burma, suggestions to arm the Chinese Communists, and suggestions 
to fly a task force of Chinese Communists into Kweichow. 42 

The question of properly feeding the Chinese soldier arose when moving 
divisions into place for Alpha was discussed with the Chinese. Showing 
an appreciation of the state of the Chinese Army, the Generalissimo remarked 
on 24 November that it would not do to attempt to march troops all the 
way from Hsian to Nan-cheng for there would be many desertions. In 
Wedemeyer's opinion, given to the Chinese a few days later, this was 
because the men were not being fed. If they were being well fed, he thought 
they would not desert. 43 In a few weeks, as Wedemeyer spent more time 
studying the state of the Chinese Army, he became increasingly convinced 

40 Stilwell's Command Problems I Ch. VI. I 

41 Japanese Study 130, pp. 26, 30. 

42 (1) Memo, Barrett for Wedemeyer, 30 Nov 44, sub: Organization of Special Units of 
Communist Forces, Incl to Min, Mtg 11, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo; (2) Min, Mtg 11, 
Wedemeyer with Generalissimo. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

41 Min, Mtgs 4, 5, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 24, 2 7 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo 
Minutes. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



65 



that simple failure to feed the Chinese soldier underlay most of China's mili- 
tary problems and that the Chinese armies needed food even more than they 
needed guns. Long-continued malnutrition made many Chinese soldiers too 
weak to march; they died along the roads. Semistarvation had to be elimi- 
nated before effective combat formations could be put into the field. 

In November the conversations with Chiang had been mostly about 
troop movements; by mid-December Wedemeyer was spending much of his 
time with the Generalissimo pleading with the Chinese to improve the diet 
of their troops. Indeed, on one occasion, his chief of staff, then acting for 
Wedemeyer, said that to the U.S. theater commander food seemed to be the 
most important Chinese military problem. 44 

Wedemeyer recognized four reasons for the extensive malnutrition of the 
Chinese forces. He thought that full responsibility had not been given to 
the commanders involved; that many agencies were concerned, thus diffusing 
responsibility; that adequate storage and transport facilities were lacking; 
that there was no prior planning and there were too many administrative 
details. 45 

In the immediate present, Wedemeyer believed it imperative that for the 
six months' period beginning 15 December all Chinese armies employed 
against Japan should have the best food that could be provided. In addi- 
tion to his rice rations each man should have fifteen pounds of beef or pork 
products every month. Wedemeyer suggested to the Generalissimo that in 
the future, instead of collecting taxes in kind, the government pay for all 
rice, pork, and food furnished. He recommended further that these food- 
stuffs be delivered by the farmer to the Chinese SOS at roadside, these 
victuals then to be shipped to food subdepots. From there supplies would 
go by truck to divisions and armies. He suggested that two general supply 
bases be set up, one at Kunming and one at Chungking. So that transport 
for the food would be at hand, Wedemeyer proposed that the American 
SOS commander control all Chinese military and commercials trucks not 
essential to the Chinese war effort, plus all emergency air supply. 46 

The Generalissimo was willing to consider suggestions that the Chinese 
present a plan for proper feeding, a plan supported by staff studies. He 
agreed to consider proposals that there should be one responsible agency, 

44 (1) Min, Mtg 15, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 8 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Min- 
utes. (2) Memo 277, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 11 Dec 44, sub: Rations, Feeding 
Stations, and Supplemental Rations for Chinese Troops in Defense of Chungking Area. Bk 16, 
ACW Corresp with Chinese. (3) Min, Mtg 3, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 21 Nov 44. 
Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Memo 267, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 7 Dec 44. Bk 
16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 

45 Memo cited n. 44(2). 

46 Memo 264, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 6 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with 
Chinese. 



66 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



that commanders should be indoctrinated with the idea that they were 
responsible for the proper feeding of their troops, that feeding stations should 
be set up, and that there should be Sino- American supervision of the whole 
process. 47 

In retrospect, General McClure, who as chief of staff to Wedemeyer and 
deputy chief of staff to the Generalissimo had ample opportunity for obser- 
vation, summed up the program for reform of the Chinese Army in five 
steps: 48 

1. Feed 

2. Arm and equip 

3. Train 

4. Lead well 

5. Indoctrinate 

Filling the Gaps in the Chinese Divisions 

Information at the disposal of China Theater headquarters strongly indi- 
cated that the divisions on the Chinese order of battle were far understrength, 
and that when divisions engaged the enemy and took casualties the resulting 
gaps in their ranks were seldom if ever replaced. One reason for this was 
that commanders were given lump sums in cash for pay and rations based 
on the paper strength of their units; it was profitable to be understrength. 49 
Another reason lay in the functioning of the Chinese replacement system. 
The Chinese Government allotted quotas to the several provinces, whose 
governors in turn divided them among the local magistrates. The officials 
procured conscripts from among the lowest classes by methods that Wede- 
meyer, after many months of observing the system, described to the Gen- 
eralissimo as follows: "Conscription comes to the Chinese peasant like famine 
or flood, only more regularly— every year twice— and claims more victims. 
Famine, flood, and drought compare with conscription like chicken pox with 
plague." Wedemeyer made it quite clear that by victims were meant those 
who died as a result of the abuses and inefficiencies attending the conscrip- 
tion process. 50 

Those conscripts who survived induction were examined by the local 
governor who selected the best for his own forces. The rest were turned 
over to the local war area representative of the National Military Council. 
The numbers he received were of course far short of the provincial quota. 

47 Min, Mtg 17, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 11 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

48 McClure comments on draft MS. OCMH. 

49 (1) Item 13. Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) McClure comments on draft MS. 

50 Memo 678-7, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 5 Aug 45. B k 8, ACW Corresp with 
Chinese. For an extended quotation from this memorandum, see page j 368— 73,| below. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



67 



Then came the process of transporting conscripts to their destination, which 
meant still further attrition of the sort described in the Wedemeyer memo- 
randum. On arrival the survivors "were ready for a General Hospital rather 
than the General Reserve." 

The fighting strength of the Chinese divisions suffered still more by the 
numerous exemptions permitted by the draft laws. The system was very 
like that in vogue in the United States in 1861-65 in that the prosperous 
could hire substitutes. Graduates of high schools and colleges easily 
arranged permanent exemption. Only sons were automatically exempt. 
Physical weakness was not a disqualifying factor. Therefore, those elements 
in the populace who should have furnished noncommissioned and junior 
officers, who had the education and background that would most readily 
enable them to learn modern techniques of warfare, were exempt. 51 

If the Alpha plan was to be carried out, a number of full-strength Chinese 
divisions would have to be provided. So on 30 November 1944 the Gen- 
eralissimo was asked to provide a grand total of 270,000 replacements by 
1 April 1945. The priority with which different armies were to receive 
replacements was carefully worked out. 

To meet the transport problem, the proposals provided for requisitioning 
replacements from areas near their final destinations. The Ministry of Con- 
scription was to be notified well in advance of the number of men it was to 
supply, thus easing its problems. The Generalissimo approved the plan and 
ordered that the Ministry of Conscription plan to obtain replacements within 
two months. 52 

Plans To Break the Transport Bottleneck 

The Chinese forces badly needed food, shoes, clothing, drugs, small arms 
ammunition, spare parts, and artillery shells, roughly in that priority. 53 
Priority of necessity went to the Chinese divisions facing the most imminent 
Japanese threat, in east China. So supplies had to be moved from the 
Kunming base area to east China. Any improvement in the line of com- 
munications to east China would also benefit the Fourteenth Air Force, for 
it too depended on the same artery. Though the traditional carrier of most 
Chinese goods was water transport, the pattern of the rivers and canals was 
not well adapted to movement of goods from west to east. Trucks had to 
bridge many of the gaps in the water routes. 

As noted above, there were perhaps 10,000 trucks in Nationalist China, 

51 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VII, pp. 10 and 11. (2) Quotation from McClure 
comments on draft MS. 

52 History of China Theater, Ch. VII, p. 13. 

53 Wedemeyer's November and December 1944 memorandums for and conferences with the 
*aeneralissimo are the source of this conclusion. 



68 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



many of them inoperable through lack of spares, inadequate or bad mainte- 
nance, overloading, the unavoidable use of alcohol instead of gasoline for 
fuel, the impact of poor roads on the structure of the vehicles, and accidents. 
Those vehicles which were in operating condition numbered perhaps 2,000. 
Their operational efficiency was further limited by the primitive road net, 
and by their dispersal among a number of Chinese agencies and private 
individuals. 54 

Some improvement in the resources available was promised by the opera- 
tion of two projects approved by Stilwell's headquarters some months before. 
One had called for flying in 700 trucks to carry supplies east from Kunming 
to Chennault's airfields. 55 With the gradual loss of the airfields in 1944, the 
supply situation was altering accordingly. The trucks were being flown in 
steadily and would be a welcome addition. Between April 1944 and 31 
December 1944, 544 trucks arrived in China. Another project, which called 
for driving 500 5-ton truck-trailer combinations across the Soviet Union to 
China, was canceled by the Soviets on the plea of uprisings a cross the route 
of march in Sinkiang Province, and the trucks and personnel |(Lux Convoy) 
were rerouted to India. 56 

On 4 December 1944 Wedemeyer in conference suggested to the General- 
issimo that the Chinese SOS operate a great motor pool in which would be 
placed all Chinese motor vehicles. Confiscation of the trucks was not being 
suggested, Wedemeyer observed, but rather registering the vehicles, so that 
the Chinese Army would receive priority in their use. 57 The Generalissimo 
approved the proposal in principle, so Wedemeyer a few days later submitted 
detailed proposals to operate Chinese motor transport. 

On 8 December Wedemeyer requested the Generalissimo to place all 
transport and maintenance facilities directly under the control of the Com- 
manding General, Chinese SOS, to place all the stations which checked the 
movement of trucks under control of the same officer, and to direct that U.S. 
Army personnel in conjunction with the Transportation Section, Chinese 
SOS, jointly control and direct the operation of all vehicles. 58 In effect, 
Chinese and Americans would work together as members of the same trans- 
portation team. 

Priorities for movements were to be determined in accordance with the 
directives of the combined Sino- American staff of the Generalissimo's China 
Theater. The motor routes were divided into four sections, of which Sec- 

54 History of China Theater, Ch TV pp 15-17. 

55 Stilwell's Command Problems. ICh. VIlTl 

56 (1) Stilwell's Command Problems, |Ch. V1I~] (2) Joseph Bykofsky, U.S. Army Transporta- 
tion in China, Burma, India During World War II, p. 304. OCMH. (Hereafter, Bykofsky MS. ) 

57 Min, Mtg 13, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 4 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

58 Memo 270, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 8 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 




Lux Convoy asctmiing the fetmm tuxnty-om mrm afthe Kunming-KmH'm road. 



70 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



tions 1 and 2 to east China would be operated under control of a combined 
Sino-American SOS staff at Kunming. Sections 3 and 4, which linked with 
the north, toward the Yellow River, would be controlled by the Sino-Ameri- 
can Combined Staff at Chungking. Co-ordination between the different 
operations would be maintained over U.S. communications. 

All the checking stations which Chinese governmental agencies had set 
up on the roads to control the vehicle flow would be placed under the Com- 
manding General, Chinese SOS. An American enlisted man would be at- 
tached to the staff of the control station and would tabulate all traffic. His 
reports would be sent to a central control station. 

Transportation personnel would reconnoiter areas in the communications 
zone and combat zone, and determine the availability of vehicles. Requests 
for use of these vehicles would be made in the name of the Generalissimo. 
No trucks would be confiscated unless the owners refused to co-operate. All 
maintenance and supply facilities would be placed at the disposal of the Com- 
manding General, Chinese SOS. All stocks of fuels and lubricants were to 
be pooled. 59 

This plan, the initial recommendation of China Theater headquarters to 
the Generalissimo, was rejected by the Chinese. In effect, the plan would 
have placed Americans at every level of the operation, and this may have 
made it unacceptable. On 15 December another plan was presented to the 
Chinese. This paper suggested that the Chinese War Transport Board con- 
trol and operate all Chinese Government and commercial trucks. China 
Theater headquarters understood that acceptance of the plan by the Chinese 
would give the War Transport Board complete control of trucks in both 
categories. SOS did not control even Chinese Army trucks, for many truck 
regiments were on detached service with Chinese Government agencies. 60 

This proposal met with partial Chinese acceptance. The Generalissimo 
directed that all Chinese military vehicles be placed under the control of the 
Chinese SOS. It was further ordered that all Chinese Government and com- 
mercial vehicles be placed under the War Transport Board. Many years later 
McClure felt that this step had not been too effective, and noted that trucks 
meant money and power to whoever controlled or drove them. 61 

The physical aspects of the problem could not be adequately attacked 
until the Ledo Road was completed and until Hump tonnage was at a more 
satisfactory level. In anticipation of this time, now rapidly approaching, 
Wedemeyer requested Army Service Forces to approve shipping 2,000 6x6 
and 5,000 Dodge trucks to China. 62 

59 Ibid. 

60 Memo 286, McClure for Generalissimo, 15 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 

61 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. IV, p. 20. (2) McClure comments on drafts MS. 

62 Bykofsky MS, p. 307. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



71 



Attempts To Arm Hsueh Yueh 

Because the line of communications that supported the Japanese divisions 
in east China ran through General Hsueh Yueh's IX War Area, and because 
two of the last airstrips from which Chennault could operate in east China 
were in General Hsueh's territory, Wedemeyer and Chennault shared a com- 
mon interest in supplying Hsueh Yueh with arms. However, some months 
before, Stilwell's headquarters had received an order from the Generalissimo 
that only air force supplies were to go to east China, and had received the 
very strong impression that the Generalissimo did not trust Hsueh Yueh. 
At that time the Americans also received the impression that General Hsueh 
was one of a group of Nationalist war lords in east and southeast China whose 
loyalty to the Nationalist cause did not extend to the Generalissimo 
personally. 63 

During the critical months of summer 1944, when the fate of the strong 
Chinese city of Heng-yang was in doubt, General Chennault had repeatedly 
asked Stilwell to supply Hsueh Yueh with arms. Obedient to the General- 
issimo's orders, Stilwell had refused. Now, in November 1944, Hsueh re- 
newed his pleas for arms and again forwarded them through the Fourteenth 
Air Force. On 30 November 1944 Wedemeyer personally raised the issue 
with the Generalissimo. He told the Chinese leader that Hsueh had re- 
quested 3,000 rifles, 600 Bren guns, 150 mortars, and 500 grenade dischargers, 
with ammunition. Noting that the request had come through Fourteenth 
Air Force channels, Wedemeyer said he would not fill it without the Gen- 
eralissimo's concurrence. In reply the Generalissimo said that Hsueh's 
request should be disregarded. 

The Generalissimo's statement had several implications. Wedemeyer 
therefore asked the Generalissimo to define his policy on the issuance of Ameri- 
can supplies to the Chinese commanders. Wedemeyer conceded that co- 
ordination between the several U.S. headquarters had not been good, for in 
his opinion Dorn on the Salween and Chennault in east China had become 
accustomed to independent action. The Generalissimo replied that he would 
see to it that the Chinese did not again make any approaches outside the 
proper channel which was through the Ordnance Department of the Ministry 
of War. But this reply still left unsettled the Generalissimo's attitude 
toward General Hsueh Yueh, and so Wedemeyer asked if Hsueh Yueh was 
a "loyal and effective general." The Generalissimo answered that Hsueh was 
"able, and had been with the Revolution a long time." 64 

63 Stilwell's Command Problems f Ch. XI. \ 

64 (1) Min, Mtg 8, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 30 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Min- 
utes. (2) Rad CAK 2018, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 8 Dec 44. Item 164, Bk 1 ACW Personal 
File. 



72 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



In the same conference the question of cutting the Japanese supply lines 
in east China was discussed. Stretching for hundreds of miles south of 
Hankow through hostile territory these seemed an obvious target for Chinese 
attacks. But Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo he had reports that Hsueh 
Yueh and General Chang Fa-kwei, who commanded the IV War Area 
(Kwangsi), were not obeying orders to attack, while the commander of the 
24th Group Army was not only not attacking the Japanese but was reported 
to be looting Chinese villages. The Generalissimo answered that Hsueh 
Yueh had been sent orders. Chang Fa-kwei seemed to be in a different cate- 
gory, for Chiang remarked that orders would not be enough, a special envoy 
would have to be sent to him. 65 

So, Wedemeyer told Chennault on 11 December: 

Subject discussed in your CAKX 2018 was taken up with the Generalissimo two days 
ago. I did not get any definite commitment from him. However, he stated categorically 
that no supplies or equipment will be given to Chinese forces without his express approval. 
He apparently is adamant concerning your request to provide supplies for the Ninth War 
Area. If you desire to pursue this request further 1 suggest that the Chinese commander 
of the Ninth War Area make his request directly to the Generalissimo. I do not teel that 
I can make further representations in the near future. Theater policy concerning the air- 
dropping of supplies was sent to you in TG 354 from Breitwiser. This policy will not be 
violated. 66 

Plans To Use the Chinese Communists 

In the months preceding Stilwell's recall, the President and the Joint 
Chiefs had desired to see Stilwell, under the Generalissimo, command both 
Chinese Nationalist and Chinese Communist forces in the war against Japan. 
The War Department had contemplated giving lend-lease to a Chinese Army 
that might include Communist forces. Stilwell's recall had not changed these 
views, and the Japanese threat to the Kunming-Kweiyang-Chungking area 
suggested to the U.S. theater headquarters in China that Chinese Communist 
military help might do a great deal to stop the Japanese. 

Wedemeyer had sought and obtained as his chief of staff General McClure, 
who arrived in Chungking on 20 November, assuming his new post on the 
28th. He very soon took an active part in formulating plans and proposals 
to arm and use the Chinese Communists against the Japanese. In the week 
of his arrival he discussed the military and political problems of China with 
the President's personal envoy, General Hurley. With the resolution of the 
October 1944 command crisis, Hurley had turned his attention to the civil 
strife in China which so hampered the Chinese war effort. He reported 
every move to the President and received the President's approval and sup- 

65 Min cited n j 64(1). I 

66 Rad CFB 28882, Wedemeyer to Chennault, 11 Dec 44. Item 172, Bk 1, ACW Personal 

File. 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



73 




Col. David D. Barrett, Chief of the American Observer Group at Chinese Commu- 
nist Headquarters in Yenan, China. 



port of his efforts to mediate between the Nationalists and Communists. 
Because they thought that Communist military aid could materially assist in 
stopping the Japanese, Wedemeyer, McClure, and other officers of theater 
headquarters spent a good deal of time trying to assist Hurley in his efforts 
to forestall civil war and unify the Chinese. 67 

From the discussions in Wedemeyer's headquarters, three projects for 
using the Chinese Communists finally evolved. The earliest and simplest 
was to supply munitions to the Communists. Presented to the General- 

67 (1) McClure, Memo for Record. Communist File, 06104-M, 3 Nov 44-10 Dec 44, T-49- 
20 CBI, DRB AGO. The memorandum seems to have been written in January, certainly before 
25 January 1945. (2) On Hurley's efforts, see radio, CFB 25629, Hurley to President, on 7 No- 
vember 1944. Item 89, Book 1, Hurley Papers. (3) For indication of the President's support, see 
Item 103, Book 1, Hurley Papers, a radio in which the President authorizes Hurley to say to Chiang 
Kai-shek that a working arrangement between Nationalists and Communists would greatly expedite 
throwing the Japanese out of north China "from my point of view and also that of the Russians. 
You can emphasize the word 'Russians' to him." (4) For subsequent references to the Chinese 
Communists, see pp. | 1 67 . 1 249- 54|| 337-3811 381-851 below. 



74 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



issimo by Wedemeyer on 27 November, it met with immediate rejection. 
The Generalissimo stated that the time was not ripe, but as soon as it was 
he would tell Wedemeyer. 68 

Then it became known that the head of the Office of Strategic Services, 
Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan, would visit China, and so McClure and 
Wedemeyer began to shape more comprehensive plans for presentation to 
General Donovan, should the Generalissimo approve them. Donovan's aid 
and support appeared desirable because one of the emerging plans would in- 
volve guerrilla warfare, the specialty of the OSS and an activity for which the 
Communists enjoyed a great reputation in the press. Moreover, Wedemeyer 
expected to leave for an inspection trip of his new theater and his chief of 
staff wanted to present the plans before Wedemeyer left. 69 

The first plan to emerge was suggested by Colonel Barrett of the American 
Observer Group in Yenan. This small party of American military personnel 
with two civilians from the State Department, John S. Service and Raymond 
P. Ludden, had been sent to Yenan in July 1944 to obtain intelligence and 
assist pilots in escape and evasion. Since then the men had been occupying 
themselves with order of battle, meteorological, and target data. Barrett's 
orders forbade the men to engage in political discussion, but in effect their 
party formed an American listening post behind the Communist lines, and 
offered an agency through which communications might be sent to the 
Communists. 70 McClure accepted the plan which Barrett had drafted, and in 
turn presented it to Wedemeyer. Wedemeyer approved, and laid the plan 
before the Generalissimo on 2 December 1944. 71 

The plan suggested organizing three Communist infantry regiments in 
Yenan, a total of about 5,000 men. The force would be armed and equipped 
by the U.S. Services of Supply. They would then be moved into Nationalist 
territory, either southwest China or the Tung-kuan-Hsian area of Shensi 
Province, near where the Chinese Nationalists were blockading the Com- 
munists. On their arrival they were to be commanded by an American 
officer with ten liaison officers attached. 72 The Generalissimo rejected the 
scheme, on the ground that the people in the area where the Communists 
were to operate would be actively hostile toward them. 73 

The other plan, prepared by McClure, called for sending U.S. airborne 
units of 4,000 to 5,000 well-trained technicians into Communist-held territory, 



68 Min, Mtg 5, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 27 Nov 44. 

69 Memo cited n. 67 ( 1 ) . 

70 Stilwell's Command Problems 



Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



Ch. X. 



71 (l)Memo, Barrett for Wedemeyer, 30 Nov 44, sub: Organization of Special Units of Com- 
munist Forces. Incl to Min, Mtg 1 1, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo; (2) Min, Mtg 11, Wede- 
meyer with Generalissimo. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

72 Memo cited n. 71(1) 

73 Memo cited n.| 67(1)1 



WEDEMEYER BEGINS HIS WORK IN CHINA 



75 



providing both the Nationalists and Communists approved. Wedemeyer 
approved its concepts, as presented by McClure to Donovan and himself, 
then left for his inspection trip. McClure set about completing the draft 
and seeking concurrences before the plan was presented to the Generalissimo. 
Since Colonel Barrett was going to Yenan on a mission for Hurley, McClure 
told him to ask what aid and assistance the Chinese Communists might give 
if the plan were to be approved. The Communists were to be told the plan 
could not go into effect unless both Nationalists and Communists agreed. 
McClure then presented the plan to Hurley, adding that he, McClure, planned 
later to show it to General Chen Cheng, now Minister of War. At Hurley's 
suggestion, McClure also showed it to China's Foreign Minister, T. V. Soong. 
Again McClure offered cautions, saying this presentation was only so McClure 
could offer a mature study at a later date, and asking Soong not to tell the 
Generalissimo unless Soong thought it essential. 74 

So, in December 1944, McClure sought reactions and concurrences from 
several key figures, much as he would circulate a staff paper in his own head- 
quarters, accompanying each presentation with oral cautions. The impact of 
word that an agency of the United States Government contemplated steps 
which if successful would ultimately result in American technicians and 
American supplies being committed to Communist China was some weeks in 
appearing. 



74 ( 1) Memo cited n. 67(1) (2) McClure comments on draft MS. (3) Ltr, Gen Hurley to 
Maj Gen R. W. Stephen sTCrTleTof Mil History, 15 Dec 56. OCMH. 



CHAPTER III 



Beginning the Fall Campaign in 
North Burma 

When the monsoon rains lifted in the fall of 1944 and the ground began 
to dry, action in Burma started to rise to another peak of intensity. The great 
British victory at Imphal, on the Indo-Burmese border, in the preceding 
spring and summer, had fatally weakened the Japanese 15 th Army, while the 
Chinese and American successes in north Burma had left the Japanese 33d 
Army strength only to delay. For the staffs, the questions were how far and 
in what direction to exploit success; for the soldiers, how to overcome the 
stubborn delaying action of a sorely wounded but still determined enemy. 



The Situation at the Front 



By September 1944 the Allies had breached the natural defenses of 



Burma at several points. {Map 5) A state whose area is as large as that 
of Germany, Burma is essentially a group of river valleys sheltered 
between two major spurs of the Himalaya Mountains. On the Indo- 
Burmese border are the Arakan Yoma, the Chin Hills, and the Naga 
Hills, which curve in a great arc from the Bay of Bengal to the border of 
Tibet. Some of their peaks are as high as 10,000 feet, and their lower 
slopes are covered with tropical forest. The Sino-Burmese border runs 
through another complex of mountain ranges, which, unlike that on the 
west, is of great width. These mountains also come down to the sea, so 
that Burma is most readily reached by sea or air. 

Burma may be regarded as the land that three great rivers flowing from 
north to south have carved from the mountains. The westernmost of these 
three is the Chindwin River. Running parallel to the mountains of the 
Indo-Burmese border, it offers another barrier to troop movement in either 
direction. The country through which it flows for most of its length is 
sparsely settled brush and forest. Then, at Shwegyin, it emerges from the 



78 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Tank Farm at Myitkyina. Gasoline delivered by pipeline was stored in these tanks 
until needed. 

valley, alters its course slightly to the east, and enters the great valley of cen- 
tral Burma which the Irrawaddy River has cut. The Irrawaddy in central 
Burma inclines southwestward, then it meets the Chindwin, and the now 
even mightier Irrawaddy flows on for many more miles to enter the Bay of 
Bengal. The great port and prewar capital of Burma, Rangoon, is slightly 
to the east of the Irrawaddy delta. Once restored, Rangoon's port facilities 
would make it an excellent staging area for an amphibious attack on Malaya. 
In the eastern portion of Burma the Salween River flows from north to south 
and enters the Andamen Sea at Moulmein. 

Since the principal topographic features of Burma lie along north-south 
lines, the problem that faced the Allies after the Japanese took Burma in April 
1942 was to cut across the grain of the country from west and east until they 
had placed themselves in one of the major valleys, then exploit their suc- 
cessful crossing of the mountain barriers by a campaign down the valley into 
the vital airfields, oil resources, railways, highways, and seaports of central 
and south Burma. The greatest of the Burmese valleys is that through which 
the Irrawaddy flows. Myitkyina is the most important point on the northern 
stretches of that river. 

Before the war Myitkyina was a thriving frontier town, with rail connec- 
tions to Rangoon and a fair-weather road to China. Since August 1944 it 
had been in Allied hands, and was being rapidly converted into a great sup- 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



79 



ply center. A gasoline pipeline began deliveries to Myitkyina on 2 October. 
The local airstrips were being rehabilitated and expanded, and air cargo was 
flowing in steadily. The Ledo Road was being extended past Myitkyina and 
was being joined to it by a cutoff. 

South from Myitkyina, both the Burma Railways and the Irrawaddy River 
led to central Burma and the famous old city of Mandalay. The railway 
builders had laid the tracks between two long, narrow, 3,000- to 4,000-foot 
hill masses which lie along a north-south line within the major valley, hence 
the name by which this avenue of approach was known at the time, "the 
Railway Corridor." An Allied force driving down from Myitkyina would 
inevitably strike the flank of any Japanese force trying to stop an attack 
coming from the east across the grain of the country. 

In the Arakan section of Burma, along the Bay of Bengal, the British 15 
Corps, with the 25th and 26th Indian Divisions, and the 81st West African 
Division, had been forced by the monsoon rains to confine itself in August 
to patrolling. It was astride the coastal range, and was in position to move 
down the coast. Such an advance would open up staging areas and airfields 
near the most vital areas of south and central Burma — the oil fields of 
Yenangyaung and the seaport of Rangoon. 1 In February 1944 the British 
and Indian forces in the Arakan had signally defeated the Japanese 33th Divi- 
sion; opportunity to exploit this success would come when the rivers went 
back to their channels and the ground began to harden. 

The Japanese forces in the Arakan were the 28th Army, with the 34th and 
33th Divisions. This force had to defend the coast almost to Rangoon. 

On the central front, opposite Imphal, where fighting heavy by any scale 
had taken place between the British 4 and 33 Corps and the Japanese 13th 
Army, the 11th East African and 5 th Indian Divisions were pursuing the sur- 
vivors of the Japanese 13th and 31st Divisions, and the still formidable though 
sorely battered Japanese 33d Division. On 5 July Lt. Gen. William J. Slim, 
commanding the British Fourteenth Army, having determined to exploit the 
victory at Imphal, had ordered 4 and 33 Corps to destroy the Japanese 13th 
Army west of the Chindwin. This order meant keeping unremitting pres- 
sure on the Japanese through the monsoon rains. Its execution yielded major 
results. Their defeat at Imphal, plus Slim's relentless monsoon pursuit, cost 
the Japanese 171 guns, 2,058 vehicles, and 85,000 men. If the Japanese were 
to fight again in Burma, they had to rebuild their forces and so the 33d Divi- 
sion was putting up a stubborn rear guard action. The 33d Division was 
moving down from north Burma to reinforce the 13th Army. 

The terrain between Imphal in India and the Chindwin River in Burma, 
behind which the Japanese were now seeking shelter, is exceedingly difficult. 



1 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 239-41. 



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TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The Japanese dug themselves into the mountains, with their machine guns 
and mortars commanding the muddy mountain tracks. The monsoon rains 
poured down impartially on friend and foe. Under these circumstances, the 
steady advance of the two divisions was a very considerable achievement and 
denied the Japanese the time they so badly needed. On 30 August an Indian 
patrol stood on the banks of the Chindwin. 2 

In north Burma, a powerful Allied concentration faced the Japanese 33 d 
Army. The Northern Combat Area Command, though American, had, by 
common and informal consent of Chinese and Americans, come to the open 
exercise of the command it had hitherto exercised through the legal fiction of 
a headquarters with a Chinese name and Chinese authority, Chih Hui Pu. 3 
Its combat elements included two Chinese armies totaling five divisions, the 
British 36th Division of two brigades, which had arrived at Myitkyina air- 
strip in mid-July, and an American brigade headquarters to which attachment 
of one Chinese and two American regiments was contemplated. 4 This force 
was deep in north Burma and firmly gripped the upper valley of the Irrawaddy 
River, whose lower length is Burma proper. Having relieved the "Chindits" 
(the airborne formation which had operated behind Japanese lines), the 
British 36th Division was advancing southward down the line of the Burma 
Railways, on a course that would, if the Japanese could not halt it, inevitably 
bring it to Mandalay. To the east lay China, now within striking distance. 

The Japanese 33d Army currently included the 18th, 2d, and 36th Divi- 
sions, plus one regiment of the 49th. The 18th Division was greatly reduced 
in strength as a result of the 1944 battles in the Hukawng and Mogaung 
valleys and was scheduled for reorganization and re-equipment. 5 

In the air the Allies had superiority, unchallenged and crushing. The 
Allied air arm for Burma, Eastern Air Command, in October 1944 had in 
operational condition 125 AAF fighters and 267 RAF fighters, 48 AAF heavy 
bombers and 38 RAF heavy bombers, 72 AAF medium bombers, 198 AAF 
transports, and 35 RAF transports. The transports were most important for 
they gave the Allied ground forces a mobility and an independence of lines 
of communications on the ground the Japanese could not dream of approach- 
es- 

Against this force the Japanese had their 3th Air Division. Once masters 
of the Burma skies, the 5th's pilots faced the expected Allied attack with aboui 
12 bombers, 60 fighters, and 10 reconnaissance aircraft. With this handful 

2 (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 25 1-53. (2) Japanese Study 133, p. 16. (3) 
Japanes e Study 91 states one battalio n was reduced to sixty men wi th three machine guns. 

3 See Stilwell's Command Problems and Stilwell's Mission to China. 

4 History of 1BT, 1, 38-39. 

3 (1) History of IBT, I, 7. (2) Japanese Study 91. ( 3 ) | Stilwell's Command Problems | has a 
brief resume of the Chindit operation. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



81 



the 5th Air Division was ordered to defend not only Burma but Thailand and 
Indochina. 6 

With the disparity in force in Burma, in great measure the result of the 
British and Indian victory at Imphal, Allied success was now certain. The 
question of defining the victory remained to be solved. Given the circum- 
stances that Germany though defeated was still fighting desperately, that the 
American forces in the Pacific were capable of making a gigantic amphibious 
assault anywhere in the western Pacific from the Kurils to the southern tip 
of the Philippines regardless of what might happen in China, what plans for 
Southeast Asia Command would best combine the profitable and the practical? 

Planning the First Directive 

When plans for a fall campaign became a current topic in June 1944, the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff (CCS) seemed to feel that the most which could 
be hoped for was that SEAC should be prepared to exploit any successes 
gained; they did not direct the occupation of any geographical objective in 
Burma. In June 1944, when the Japanese were a grave threat to India, the 
CCS thought the main object of all operations in Burma was to send the maxi- 
mum quantity of supplies over the Hump. The only indication of an offen- 
sive spirit in the CCS at that time with regard to ground operations in Burma 
was discussion of an airborne operation against Rangoon— but the CCS did 
not think the operation could be staged in time to help Pacific operations. 7 

Then came the retreat of the Japanese from their abortive attack on India, 
a retreat that began on 15 July. As they fell back, they left behind the un- 
mistakable evidence of disaster in abandoned equipment and unburied dead, 
proof that the plan of General Slim and General Sir George Giffard to meet 
and break the Japanese 15th Army on the Imphal plain had succeeded. So 
the question soon became that of drafting plans to exploit this success, plus 
those gained by Stilwell in north Burma. 8 

The SEAC planners drafted two plans, X and Y, to exploit the victories 
and to carry out the CCS directive of 4 June 1944. Plan X called for the 
NCAC forces in north Burma to move from the Mogaung-Myitkyina area to 
Katha and Bhamo. At the same time 4 and 33 Corps would drive in force 
toward the Chindwin, and an airborne operation would be undertaken in the 

6 (1) See Stilwell' s Command Problems YChzptet Hl"1 for detailedinformation. (2) Despatch on 
Air Operations in Eastern Air Command (SEA) Covering the Period 15 December 1943 to 1 June 
1945, prepared for Gen Stratemeyer, pp. 132. 133. OCMH. (Hereafter, EAC Despatch.) (3) 
Japanese Study 95. 

7 (1) CM-OUT 53610, 20 Jun 44. Case 404, OPD 381 Security. (2) CCS 166th Mtg Item 
3,15 Jun 44. 

8 (1) Japanese Studies 91 and 133. (2) Operational Record of Eleventh Army Group and 
A.L.F.S.E.A., Nov 43-Aug 45, pp. 34-35. OCMH. (Hereafter, ALFSEA Record.) 



82 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Wuntho area. The goal of Plan X was to occupy north Burma to the line 
Kalewa-Lashio. Plan Y called for 4 and 33 Corps to cross the Chindwin so 
as to use British superiority in armor in the central Burma plain, and later 
to exploit as far as Mandalay. Airborne troops would take Kalewa, and there 
would be a later descent at the entrance to the Mandalay plain. This opera- 
tion against central Burma would be complemented by a southward advance 
of the NCAC and the Y-Force. At the suggestion of the British Chiefs and 
General Marshall, the Staff added Plan Z, a combined sea and air assault on 
Rangoon. 9 

The question then arose of how these several plans fitted into the cur- 
rent CCS directive to SEAC, which called on that command "to develop, 
maintain, broaden, and protect the air link to China, in order to provide the 
maximum and timely stock of petrol and stores to China in support of Pacific 
operations ... to be prepared to exploit the development of overland com- 
munications to China. . . ." 10 General Wedemeyer, who was then SEAC's 
deputy chief of staff and had not yet gone to China, reported to the War De- 
partment that the SEAC planners were splitting along national lines. He 
believed that the British members of the planning staff interpreted the direc- 
tive to the effect that there were to be no actual operations to open a line 
of communications to China, just preparations. Wedemeyer reported fur- 
ther that the British planners were squarely behind Plan Z for an attack on 
Rangoon, in Wedemeyer's opinion for diplomatic reasons, while the Ameri- 
can planners favored Plan Y for an overland offensive aimed at Mandalay and 
clearing north Burma. 11 

In reply to Wedemeyer, the War Department stated that the phrases in 
the SEAC directive had been chosen with a view to securing an early agree- 
ment on the paper. In the War Department's opinion, the directive called 
on SEAC to use all its resources for an early and maximum flow of supplies to 
China, and to continue vigorous operations to open a land link to China. 12 

To co-ordinate and clarify the views of the British and American Chiefs 
of Staff on future operations in southeast Asia, Mountbatten and Wedemeyer 
visited London and Washington respectively in early August 1944. Their 
reports to other interested officers and agencies suggest that in August there 
was considerable agreement among SEAC's military superiors. On 17 
August Mountbatten told Stilwell that the British Chiefs of Staff wanted 
Phases I and II of Plan Y, the attack on Mandalay, executed as soon as possi- 

9 (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par 221. (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Col Lawrence J. Lincoln, 
13 Jul 44. Case 438, OPD 381 Security. (3) Rpt, SAC (44) 3 (0), SAC's Visit to London, 
5-2 1 Aug 44. SEAC War Diary. 

10 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 185. 

11 (1) Ltr cited n. 9(2). (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 9 Jul 44. Folder 57, OPD 
Exec 10. 

12 CM-OUT 71617, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 27 Jul 44. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



83 




Second Quebec Conference. Seated, from left: General George C Marshall, 
Admiral William D. Leahy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston 
S. Churchill, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Field Marshal Sir John Dill. Standing: 
Maj. Gen. L. C. Hollis, General Sir Hastings Ismay, Admiral Ernest J. King, Air 
Marshal Sir Charles Portal, General Henry H. Arnold, Admiral Sir A. B. Cunningham. 



ble, with Plan Z against Rangoon to be executed mid-March 1945 using 
resources from Europe. Stilwell agreed, providing forces at hand were com- 
mitted to Plan Y and not held for later use against Rangoon. 13 A day later 
Wedemeyer advised Mountbatten that the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) wanted 
Plan Y executed as soon as possible in the fall. If the European situation 
permitted, an attack on Rangoon would be acceptable providing the basic 
objectives of Y were kept in mind. The JCS had made it very clear they 
would not agree to operations against Rangoon if these militated against 
Phases I and II of Plan Y. 14 

13 CM-IN 16319, Stilwell to Marshall, 17 Au£ 44. 

14 CM-OUT 83031, Wedemeyer to Mountbatten, via Eisenhower, 18 Aug 44. 



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TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Then came the second Quebec Conference between President Roosevelt, 
Prime Minister Churchill, and the Combined Chiefs of Staff, which began 
12 September. As discussions opened, it became apparent that the British 
Chiefs of Staff had changed their views since the exchanges of mid-September, 
when there seemed agreement on executing Phases I and II of Plan Y, or 
Capital as it then became. Some of Churchill's comments had suggested 
that it was unwise to become involved in Burma operations, and were re- 
flected in the views now offered by the British Chiefs of Staff and SEAC. 15 
Remarking that it was undesirable for jungle fighting in Burma to go on in- 
definitely, Churchill observed it was for that reason the British Chiefs of Staff 
now suggested the Rangoon attack (or Dracula), to be preceded by Phase I 
of Capital, the taking of Kalewa and Kalemyo plus a limited advance in 
north Burma, as much as was needed of Phase II, which was an overland and 
airborne assault on the Ye-u-Shwebo area, and an advance by NCAC to the 
line Mongmit-Mogok-Lashio. 16 Mandalay was thus excluded as an objec- 
tive, but opening a line of communications to China, though not prescribed, 
was within the scope of proposed operations. 

In supporting these proposals, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, 
General Sir Alan Brooke, said that the British desired to liquidate the Burma 
commitment as early as possible; it was proving a heavy one, both in casual- 
ties and in men needed to operate the long lines of communications. To 
liquidate this commitment, operations against Rangoon had been examined. 
If successful, they would end the Burma commitment, secure the air route to 
China (with possibly at a later date a land route), and get staging areas for 
further operations in Southeast Asia. Some earlier comments by Churchill 
forecast the nature of the further operations to which General Brooke referred. 
"He had always advocated an advance across the Bay of Bengal and opera- 
tions to recover Singapore, the loss of which had been a grievous and shameful 
blow to British prestige which must be avenged. It would not be good 
enough for Singapore to be returned to us at the peace table. We should 
recover it in battle." 17 

These expressions now fell on sympathetic ears among the Americans. 
Once the line of communications across Burma to China had been re-estab- 
lished and secured, the Joint Chiefs and the President in September 1944 had 
no further interest in Burma operations per se. The British were in effect 
suggesting that the major Japanese concentration in central Burma be by- 
passed by an amphibious operation and this was a technique which the 
Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders had used with great effect in 

15 See Stilwell's Mission to China, pp L 329 . 358-59, and Stilwell's Command Problems.] 

16 The phases of Capital are described in Mountbatten Report, Ft. B, par. 250. 

17 (1) CCS 174th Mtg, Item 4, Quebec, 14 Sep 44. (2) First Plenary Mtg, the Citadel, 
Quebec, 13 Sep 44. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



85 



the Pacific. As Roosevelt remarked on 13 September, "American experi- 
ence has been that the 'end-run' method paid a handsome dividend. Rabaul 
was an example of this by-passing technique which had been employed with 
considerable success at small cost of life." 18 

In accepting the proposals of the British Chiefs of Staff, Generals Marshall 
and Arnold, the latter commanding the U.S. Army Air Forces, joined to ask 
that the proposed directive be amended to make clear that opening an over- 
land line of communications to China was among the prescribed missions of 
SEAC. They explained that supplies being flown to China over the Hump 
were accumulating at the Chinese airfields because there was no transport to 
move them. 19 Trucks were urgently needed and could be put into China 
only by driving them over the new Ledo Road. The amendment was ac- 
cepted, and the Octagon directive was drawn up accordingly. Mountbatten 
was ordered to seize Rangoon by an amphibious assault before the 1945 mon- 
soon, target date 15 March, and to engage in such operations within Burma 
as were necessary to secure the Hump air route and open overland com- 
munications to China. If it should be impossible to attack Rangoon before 
the rains began, then Mountbatten was to exploit current operations into 
Burma as far as possible, without impairing chances of attacking Rangoon 
from the sea after the monsoon's close. 20 The importance given Rangoon 
reflected its strategic location and logistical importance. Once it was in 
Allied hands, Burma Area Army would lose its only effective line of 
communications and be forced to evacuate Burma. 

Events Cancel the Attack on Rangoon 

Both before and during the Quebec Conference of 1944, at which SEAC 
was ordered to concentrate on taking Rangoon before the 1945 rains, the 
comments of various senior officers identified forces at work which might 
compel an alteration in the plans. For one thing, the commanders in the 
field were advancing aggressively and were well into the early stages of 
Capital, the attack toward Mandalay. Once acquired, momentum is hard 
to stop. On 1 September 1944 General Giffard was quoted, on the connec- 
tion between current and future operations, to the effect that Capital should 
be regarded as an extension of the present operations, drafted by commanders 
who were already in the field and carrying out the current pursuit of the 
beaten Japanese. 21 A fortnight later Mountbatten told the CCS that in steadily 

18 First Plenary Mtg, the Citadel, 13 Sep 44. 

19 CCS 174th Mtg, Item 4, Quebec, 14 Sep 44. 

20 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 260. 

21 SAC (44) 5th Mtg (0), Preparation of Plans for Operation Capital, 1 Sep 44. SEAC War 
Diary. 



86 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



exploiting the victory at Imphal SEAC's forces had carried out Phase I of 
Capital "to an extent that would make it unreasonable to cancel Phase II." 
So Mountbatten told the CCS that, if he could not be given all the resources 
SEAC had originally stipulated as necessary to take Rangoon in March 1945 
by assault from sea and air, he would be happy to investigate the possibility of 
conducting the same operation in March with a smaller force. 22 

Mountbatten's comments pointed to the second factor, the extent to 
which his superiors would reinforce SEAC to permit an attack on Rangoon 
together with major operations on land. In the past SEAC's operations had 
suffered from the higher priority given European offensives. At Quebec, on 
16 September 1944, Marshall had promised to examine the possibility of 
sending two U.S. divisions to Burma. These would have been in addition to 
a very considerable British reinforcement, possibly as many as seven divisions 
from Europe and the Mediterranean, and would have changed the scale of 
operations in Southeast Asia. 23 

But as the European summer faded into fall, the German Army overcame 
the shock of the summer reverses in France and stiffened noticeably as British, 
French, and American divisions approached the German border. Supply 
problems sharply limited the effort the Allies could exert there. Inside the 
Reich, the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler survived an attempt at 
a military Putsch. Germany was not going to collapse in early fall 1944, and 
no divisions could be spared from Europe in time for Mountbatten to count 
on them for operations in March 1945. On 2 October 1944 the British 
Chiefs of Staff and the War Cabinet concluded that the assault on Rangoon 
could not be carried out in March 1945. The British Chiefs of Staff esti- 
mated the operation would require sending 253,000 men to India— three divi- 
sions and an armored brigade from the European Theater of Operations, two 
Indian divisions from the Mediterranean. They did not feel justified in 
withdrawing these forces when there was still hard fighting ahead for the 
forces of General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Instead of an attack on Rangoon, 
the British Chiefs suggested that Mountbatten be ordered to move aggressively 
into central and north Burma (Capital) without prejudice to plans to carry 
out Dracula after the rainy season. 24 

The Joint Chiefs did not believe that because troops could not be spared 
from Europe this meant Eisenhower was being given troops originally in- 
tended for Burma, and they told the President they would never have agreed 

22 Rad SEACOS 227, Mountbatten to CCS, 13 Sep 44. SEAC War Diary. 

23 (1) Memo, Marshall for Dill, 22 Sep 44; Ltr, Dill to Marshall, 4 Oct 44. Folders 57, 66, 
OPD Exec 10. ( 2) The U.S. divisions might have been destined for China. See Stilwell's 
Command Problems. 

24 (1) Ltr, Dill to McNarney, 5 Oct 44. Folder 66, OPD Exec 10. (2) CM-OUT 42323, 
6 Oct 44. Case 516, OPD 381 Security. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



87 



to any diversion from the main effort. The transfer of divisions from Europe, 
in their opinion, would not be agreeable unless victory there was assured. 23 
But the suggestions of the British Chiefs of Staff— that SEAC press vigor- 
ously into Burma from the west and north and prepare to attack Rangoon 
about November 1945 — were fully satisfactory and conformed to the alterna- 
tive provisions of the Octagon directive. The final orders were phrased 
accordingly. 26 

Capital, whose continuation was now the assigned task of SEAC, fell 
into three phases: 

Phase I — the seizure of Kalewa and Kalemyo by a land advance combined with an air- 
borne operation, while the forces of N.C.A.C. advanced via the Katha-Bhamo area 
towards Kunchaung, Sikaw and Namhkam. 

Phase 2 — an overland and airborne assault against the Ye-U-Shwebo area, while the 
forces of N.C.A.C, make a complementary advance to a line Mogok-Mongmit-Lashio 
(possibly using airborne forces to assist in the capture of the last-named place). 

Phase 3 — the securing of Burma down to a line Mandalay-Pakokku, while the forces 
of N.C.A.C. advanced to a line Maymyo-Lashio. 2 " 

Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia 

The final orders, to continue with Capital, went to a new agency in the 
Southeast Asia Command structure. This was Allied Land Forces, Southeast 
Asia, under Lt. Gen. Sir Oliver Leese, who had commanded the British 
Eighth Army in Italy. In May 1944 Mountbatten had concluded that he 
needed a commander in chief for the Allied ground forces in Southeast Asia. 
General Giffard, commanding Eleventh Army Group, would have been the 
logical choice, but Stilwell was not willing to serve under Giffard. Mount- 
batten put the issue to the CCS, pointing out he found it difficult to deal 
directly with a variety of subordinate army headquarters. The question was 
raised again during the period of planning for the split of the U.S. China, 
Burma and India Theater of Operations into the China and India-Burma 
Theaters. Stilwell then expressed his opposition. He believed that no new 
channel of command was needed, that creation of an Allied land forces head- 
quarters would emphasize American commitments in SEAC, and that the 
Generalissimo would resent having his troops under control of another 
foreign headquarters. A few days later Stilwell modified his views to a con- 
siderable degree by stating that he was willing to accept an all-British staff 
in the proposed headquarters for he feared his theater could not supply quali- 
fied officers. The British point of view, as expressed by Giffard, was that 
the headquarters should be an integrated one. 



" Memo, JCS for President, 14 Oct 44. Folder 69, OPD Exec 10. 

26 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 262. 

27 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 250. 



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TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



With the ending of the monsoon and the decision to continue with 
operations into Burma, the creation of the new headquarters became an 
urgent matter; Wedemeyer reported to Marshall that the British were con- 
templating setting up such a headquarters without awaiting U.S. or Chinese 
approval. 28 A week after Wedemeyer wrote, Mountbatten recommended to 
the CCS that Headquarters, Allied Land Forces, Southeast Asia (ALFSEA) 
should be activated to control all British land forces, NCAC, the Chinese 
Army in India, and Chinese forces operating within SEAC. He conceded 
that the Generalissimo would have to approve where the Chinese were con- 
cerned, and that U.S. ground and service troops not under NCAC would not 
be under the new command. 

Informal approval of the new arrangement was given by Marshall on 30 
October 1944. He explained to Mountbatten that a formal written agree- 
ment on ALFSEA's creation would require the Generalissimo's approval, but 
he himself saw no reason why there could not be an oral agreement for oper- 
ational command by Leese. He feared an appeal direct to the Generalissimo 
would complicate an already intricate situation. 29 

Mountbatten thought the Chinese aspect would offer no difficulty because 
he recalled that at Chungking in October 1943 and again in India in No- 
vember 1943 the Generalissimo had said that all Chinese troops within 
SEAC's boundaries were under Mountbatten's command. These statements 
were taken by Mountbatten for use as the basis for delegating authority over 
Chinese troops to the new headquarters. On 6 November 1944 General 
Wedemeyer, who had by then become U.S. chief of staff to the General- 
issimo, obtained the latter's oral agreement to the new arrangement. On 12 
November 1944 the new headquarters, essentially Headquarters, Eleventh 
Army Group, plus some American officers, was activated and General Leese 
took command. 30 

Creation of the new headquarters brought discussion of the relationship 
between India-Burma Theater and SEAC. Transfer of the U.S. contingent 
among the SEAC Joint Planners to the Commanders-in-Chief Planners of 
SEAC, at a substantial saving in personnel, was quickly agreed to. The 
question of the control of U.S. resources in SEAC, a question raised by 
Mountbatten when the theaters were split, was much more complex. The 
new Allied land forces commander and the current Allied air forces com- 
mander controlled the operations of NCAC and the U.S. Air Forces units 
within SEAC, respectively. Ultimate control rested with the CCS through 
the British Chiefs of Staff in London. However, the right to move air or 

2S Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 8 Oct 44. Item 1306, Msg Bk 23, OPD Exec 9. 
29 Ltr, Marshall to Mountbatten, no date. Item 1359. Msg Bk 24, OPD Exec 9. 
}0 (1) History of IBT, Vol. I, pp. 62-66. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 268. (3) 
ALFSEA Record, p. 45. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



89 



other resources from India-Burma Theater to China subject to the needs of 
the fighting in Burma had always been reserved by the Joint Chiefs. Behind 
the JCS's reserving this right lay the assumption that all U.S. resources in 
India and Burma were in the final analysis there to support China. Since 
India-Burma and China were now two separate U.S. theaters of operations, 
Mountbatten suggested that the CCS rather than the JCS should decide when 
resources could be moved from one to another. He had good reason to be 
anxious lest events in China result in a heavy draft on American resources 
from Burma. But the JCS would not agree to his suggestion, and reserved 
to themselves the disposition of U.S. forces in China, Burma, and India. 31 

That the commanders in the field had continued their operations through 
the monsoon rains, the Octagon Conference, and the exchanges between 
the staffs meant that the situation in the field changed steadily from day to 
day. Three days after ALFSEA opened for business on 12 November, the 
11th East African Division entered Kalemyo in Burma, substantially com- 
pleting the British part of Phase I of Capital. 

NCAC Prepares To Resume Operations 

The operational tasks in north Burma which fell to Northern Combat 
Area Command under Capital had of course been assigned to it well before 
ALFSEA. began operations; NCAC had its operations under way at a cor- 
respondingly earlier date. The general missions given NCAC were as 
follows: 

1. Conduct offensive operations to expel or destroy the enemy east of boundary with 
Fourteenth Army [major British formation opposite central Burma] and north of the 
general line Lashio-Mongmit-Thabeikkyin by mid-February 1945. 

2. Protect the air supply route and overland communication with China. 

3. Secure Assam and Upper Burma north and east of the boundary with 11th Army 
Group. 32 

The specific tasks given to NCAC, with the desired dates for their 
completion, were as follows: 

Phase I — (October to mid-December) — destroy and expel the enemy north of the 
general line to include key points: Indaw ( railroad )-Kunchaung-Sikaw-Namhkam. 

Phase II — (mid-December 1944 to mid-February 1945) destroy and expel the enemy 
north of the general line to include key points: Thabeikkyin-Mogok-Mongmit-Lashio, and 
be prepared to exploit in anticipation of Phases III and IV. 33 

From Myitkyina the Irrawaddy takes a course which though serpentine is 
generally southward until it reaches Bhamo; then it bends sharply westward 

31 (1) History of IBT, Vol. I, pp. 67-69. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 329. (3) JIC 
201/M, 15 Jul 44, sub: Political Effect of Present Japanese Opns in China. 

32 History of IBT, Vol. I, p. 84. 

33 Ibid. 



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TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



and does not turn south again until the vicinity of Katha, which is about 
fifty-five air miles west of Bhamo. Its course is about equidistant between 
the hills that form the eastern boundary of the Railway Corridor mentioned 
earlier and the escarpment that in this area is the western edge of the Yunnan 
plateau. North of Bhamo, the Irrawaddy has cut a passage through a cluster 
of hills, some of which just top the 3,000-foot mark. The line NCAC 
sought to reach by 15 December ran from Indaw on the railway, through 
Katha, then south and east to the road junctions of Kunchaung and Sikaw, 
which are in the valley, and then plunged into the mountains to Namhkam, 
in the valley which the Shweli River has chiseled through them. Thirty 
miles northeast of Namhkam, the Burma Road enters the Shweli valley at 
Wanting. Completion of Phase II would involved a general southward 
advance of about fifty miles, some of it across the most rugged of mountain 
terrain. 

Current plans called for brigading the 1st Chinese Separate Infantry Regi- 
ment, which had been trained at Ramgarh in long-range penetration tactics, 
with two American regiments, the 475th Infantry and the 124th Cavalry. 
The combined unit would be the equivalent of a division, but would have 
the designation 5332d Brigade (Provisional). The project had its origins in 
StilwelPs long-cherished dream of having an American division to command. 
In April 1944, when CBI Theater headquarters knew that a considerable body 
of American replacements was coming to CBI, Stilwell ordered Brig. Gen. 
Frank D. Merrill, then commanding the only U.S. infantry in CBI, a provi- 
sional regiment, to prepare to reorganize his command as a light division 
with one Chinese and two American regiments. Meanwhile, the War De- 
partment knew that Stilwell wanted another long-range penetration group, 
and suggested it might be possible to form a mixed Sino- American unit in 
India, with 30 to 40 percent Americans in key positions and the rest of the 
spaces filled with Chinese volunteers. Stilwell liked the idea, for he thought 
that Chinese and American soldiers got on well together. By 22 June the 
Asiatic Section of the Operations Division, War Department General Staff, 
was considering sending a light brigade to CBI with a view toward giving 
Stilwell what it could to open a land line of communications to China. 34 

To carry out the project, the 5332d Brigade (Provisional), known later as 
Mars Task Force, was activated 26 July 1944. Brig. Gen. Thomas S. Arms 
assumed command the same day. 35 The activating order provided for most 
of the brigade's subordinate units to be attached to it as they arrived in India 
or were activated— as of 26 July the brigade was still very much in the pre- 

34 (1) Rad CRA 1763, Sultan to Stilwell, 21 Apr 44. Item 129, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File. 
(2) Rad SH 64, Stilwell to Marshall, 22 Apr 44. Item 133, Bk 6A, JWS Personal File. (3) 
Memo for Record, 6-22/2170. Case 404-2, OPD 381 Security. 

"Unit History, 5332d Brigade (Prov), Ch. I, p. 1. OCMH. (Hereafter, 5332d Unit 
History.) 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 91 



paratory stage. Thus, the 475th Infantry Regiment (Long Range Penetra- 
tion Regiment, Special), Lt, Col. William L. Osborne, was not activated until 
5 August 1944. It included many survivors of the original American experi- 
ment in long-range penetration tactics — Galahad, or "Merrill's Marauders." 36 
Its companion regiment, the 124th Cavalry (Texas National Guard), Col. 
Milo H. Matteson, arrived in India on 30 August 1944. It did not reach the 
brigade's training area until 27 October. Also attached were the 6l2th Field 
Artillery Battalion (Pack), Maj. John W. Read, and six quartermaster pack 
troops. 37 

Direct air support for NCAC was provided by the Tenth Air Force with 
9 bombardment squadrons, 7 fighter squadrons, 4 combat cargo squadrons, 
and 3 troop carrier squadrons. Tenth Air Force in turn was a part of Eastern 
Air Command, the operations of whose other components elsewhere in Burma 
indirectly but powerfully affected the campaign in the northern part of that 
vast area. The teammates of Tenth Air Force were the Strategic Air Force, 
which sought to destroy the Japanese transport net in Burma; 3d Tactical Air 
Force, which supported British operations in central and southern Burma; 
293 Wing, RAF, which protected the vital industrial area centering on 
Calcutta; and the Photographic Reconnaissance Force. 38 

The impact of the Allied air arm on the Japanese by the time the fall 
1944 campaign opened is suggested by some excerpts from captured Japanese 
diaries: 

During the day enemy aircraft come over in formations of three and six. As we have 
no aircraft we cannot do anything except take shelter. [A superior private on the 
Myitkyina-Bhamo front, 24 September 1944.] 

At 1825 hours enemy aircraft heavily bombed and machine-gunned positions on the 
opposite bank. I wish we had even one aircraft, that would be something! My earnest 
desire is that the people on the home front would speed up production and send us even 
one as soon as possible. [The same soldier, 13 October.] 

At times you are driven to hide food from your best friend instead of sharing it with 
him. . . . 

We feel the noose tightening slowly, relentlessly around our necks. . . . 
Enemy aircraft are over continuously in all weathers. We can do nothing but look at 
them. If we only had air power! 

> A The 5307th Provisional Unir (Special), code name Galahad, nicknamed Merrill's Marauders 
after General Merrill, who with Col. Charles N. Hunter took it into combat, was organized in India 
from volunteers obtained in the United States, the Caribbean area, and the Southwest Pacific. It 
fought at Walawbum, Inkangahtawng, Nhpum Ga, and Myitkyina from March to August 1944. 
Disease and fatigue incurred as a result of its envelopments of the Japanese flanks and deep pene- 
trations behind enemy lines so weakened the unit as to render it ineffective as a regiment by 1 July 
1944. Some of its survivors were then organized into a battalion and others provided sriffening for 
two battalions of teplacements, the so-called "New Galahad." So organized, they fought with 
distinction at Myitkyina. The 5307th was awatded the Distinguished Unit Citation. See Stilweil's 
Command Problems. 

37 Organizational details are from the 5332d Unit History, Chapter I. 

)8 Save as noted below, material on direct air support of NCAC is drawn from History of 
IBT, Vol. I, pp. 95-100. 



92 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



In the opening phases of the North Burma Campaign, October-Novem- 
ber 1944, the major objective of the Tenth Air Force was to stop Japanese 
reinforcement of the front. This meant pounding the railroads, primarily 
the bridges. The Burma Railways then had 302 bridges of more than forty 
feet in length which were the principal targets. Specializing in such attacks, 
the 490th Bombardment Squadron (M) won the nickname "Bridge-Busters." 
The 490th claimed its hundredth bridge neutralized on 8 November. In 
allocating its efforts, the Tenth in December 1944, w T hen the campaign was 
moving to its peak, spent 50 percent in attacks on Japanese lines of com- 
munication, 25 percent in close support of the ground forces, and 25 percent 
against Japanese troop concentrations and supply points. 

In the close support of the infantry, air-ground liaison was far ahead of 
that practiced in Europe. For example, when in summer 1944 the invasion 
of southern France was being planned, Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott sought 
to arrange for the presence of forward air control parties with the combat 
infantry. He did not succeed, and ir was months before the practice became 
common in Europe. 39 Though artillery played a most valuable part in the 
North Burma Campaign, it could not always accompany troops penetrating 
behind the Japanese lines, and close air support was the only possible sub- 
stitute. By May 1944 the Air Forces in Burma had worked out the tech- 
nique of forward air control. This was exercised by a party of one or two 
officers plus six to eight enlisted men. They approved targets selected by 
the Army, called up air strikes by radio, and if necessary guided the aircraft 
to the target. On occasion, liaison aircraft would observe the strike, In 
some cases, aircraft were on target thirty minutes after the request was made. 
This was the system controlling close air support during the fall 1944 
campaign. 

In addition to providing air cover and assuming all responsibility in the 
fields of transport and supply, the U.S. Army also provided the greater part 
by far of medical aid for the Chinese in north Burma. Three field hospitals, 
1 mountain medical battalion, 8 portable surgical hospitals, 2 medical collect- 
ing companies, 1 clearing company, 2 veterinary evacuation hospitals, 3 sep- 
arate veterinary companies, 1 malaria survey unit, and 7 malaria control units 
were part of NCAC. These evacuated to the general hospitals of the SOS in 
India, principally the 20th General Hospital at Ledo. A major part of the 
burden of medical aid fell on the portable surgical hospitals, for "they could 
march with a column, perform the emergency surgery on casualties, and 
evacuate them by air." 

Evacuation of the wounded by air was greatly appreciated by the soldier 
and was carried to a point that made it a distinguishing feature of the North 

i9 Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Command Missions (New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 
1954), p. 398. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



93 



Burma Campaign. Writing immediately after the war, the Historical Sec- 
tion, India-Burma Theater, noted that "without known exception every 
wounded soldier, Chinese or American, evacuated out of the forward area, 
was transported by aircraft during part of his journey." For the wounded, 
the worst part of the trip was the short journey on a stretcher to the im- 
provised airstrip where the liaison aircraft, refitted as an ambulance, awaited 
them. 

The Chinese, who could provide only the simplest medical care from their 
own resources, were responsible for transporting their own wounded within 
their own sectors. NCAC assumed responsibility for further evacuation 
when the Chinese patient was delivered to an American medical unit, which 
was usually the portable surgical hospital that accompanied each Chinese di- 
vision. Then the patient was carried to a liaison plane landing strip— if he 
could not readily be driven to a field hospital— and from there was flown to 
the nearest transport strip. Detachments of the 151st Medical Battalion met 
him there and supervised his journey to hospital. 40 

Burma is not a healthful place even for its inhabitants, while for the 
combat soldier, who is daily exposed to contaminated water, polluted soil, 
and disease-bearing insects, it has long been deadly. In 1942 many medical 
authorities had feared disease might bring disaster to armies invading Burma 
and had appraised the danger in most gloomy terms. By fall 1944, after the 
campaigns of the previous years, the dimensions of the problem were known 
and remedial measures were at hand. Malaria and dysentery were the two 
great menaces. Malaria was the greater by far. By then commanders and 
medical officers had learned that routine measures of mess, water, and camp 
sanitation could control dysentery and that the problem was more a com- 
mand than a medical problem. Notably, the Chinese, who always ate their 
food hot and boiled water faithfully, suffered far less from intestinal disorders 
than did the Americans. 41 

Malaria was much slower in yielding to preventive measures. In the 
autumn of 1943, when the fighting resumed in north Burma, malaria was 
attacked by the assignment of two malaria control detachments, who were 
to destroy the mosquitoes, and by measures of individual prevention, such 
as the use of repellent. But measures of environmental control were of little 
use when the Allied forces began to advance rapidly, for every forward step 
was also a step into Japanese-held terrain that medical personnel could hardly 
invade. The decision to use atebrin was not made until April 1944, then 
only because the monsoon rains were approaching, and it was limited to troops 

40 History of IBT, I, 94-95. 

41 1st Lt. James H. Stone, U.S. Army Medical Services in Combat in India and Burma, 1942- 
1945, Ch. 15. OCMH. Unless otherwise noted, material in this section is drawn from Lieutenant 
Stone's manuscript. 



94 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



least able to carry out measures of environmental control. NCAC slowly 
extended use of atebrin from combat troops to service troops south of Ledo. 
Late in 1944 NCAC finally decided to make its use general in north Burma. 
The stubborn opposition had been based on the belief that use of atebrin 
might lead to laxity in other control measures, but overcrowding in the hos- 
pitals made this consideration yield. A similar lag in the use of the powerful 
insecticide DDT may be noted; it was not available in quantity until late in 
1944 and not used extensively until 1945. 

Four malaria control detachments were on hand when fighting began in 
fall 1944. They fought the mosquito peril by "DDT residual spraying as 
soon as fighting had stopped; DDT spraying of occupied tents, latrines, 
mess halls, and other buildings; DDT perimeter spraying around the camp 
areas, including natural resting places within the perimeter; DDT spraying 
of front line installations and fortifications when combat units were static; 
minor larviciding and ditching around headquarters areas; and transporta- 
tion and issue of anti-malaria supplies." 

By early February the success of atebrin therapy and widespread use of 
DDT was apparent. The CBI Theater malaria rate, which was the rate of 
admission to hospital, had been approximately 95 per 1,000 per year in Janu- 
ary 1943, and 75 per 1,000 per year in January 1944. The India-Burma rate 
in January 1945 remained at 75. But where the previous years' rates had 
never dropped below the 50 per 1,000 mark, the India-Burma rate was below 
20 per 1,000 by the end of March 1945. In the past, May had been the 
month that malaria began to take the worst toll, moving rapidly up to 300 
per 1,000, but in 1945 the rate stayed under 20 per 1,000. The new techniques 
were a success. 

In mid-August 1944 the training area which had been set up about ten 
miles north of Myitkyina on the west bank of the Irrawaddy began receiving 
members of the 475th Infantry Regiment. The area was designated Camp 
Robert W. Landis in honor of the first member of Galahad to be killed in 
action. Unit after unit started moving into Camp Landis as the 5332d began 
to put on flesh and assume the likeness of a pair of regimental combat teams. 
Another battalion of pack artillery, the 613th under Lt. Col. James F. Donovan, 
the 18th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital, the 44th Portable Surgical Hospital, 
the 1st Chinese Separate Infantry Regiment, Col. Lin Kuan-hsiang, arrived 
during the fall. 42 

Units were scheduled to arrive in a way that permitted the 475 th Regi- 
mental Combat Team to train in September and October, the 124th, in 
October and December. Training stressed the weapons and tactics used by 
long-range penetration units operating over wooded, hilly terrain. Physical 

42 5332d Unit History, Ch. I. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 95 




Bivouac Area of the 475th Infantry at Camp Landis. Irrawaddy River in the 
background. 



conditioning was emphasized. Maintenance of health during jungle opera- 
tions, a factor whose difficulty and value had received local demonstration 
during the Galahad operations, was also covered. 43 

After General Arms had seen the 5332d through its organization and 
training phase he was so unfortunate as to be injured in a motor accident, 
and was succeeded on 31 October 1944 by Brig. Gen. John P. Willey. 
Willey had served on the NCAC staff during the North Burma Campaign, 
and been chief of staff of the Myitkyina Task Force from 1 June to 4 August 
1944. His peacetime experience had been in armor and cavalry. 44 

The Chinese divisions also received rigorous training, which began im- 
mediately after the fall of Myitkyina on 3 August 1944. Thus, when the 
22d Division departed its camp sites for Kamaing in the week of 7-14 Octo- 
ber it had completed nine weeks of training. The 50th Division trained in 

43 Capt. Edward Fisher, History of NCAC, CBI Theater and IB Theater, II, 224. OCMH. 
(Hereafter, NCAC History.) 

44 5332d Unit History, Ch. II. 



96 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



the Mogaung area. As for the 38th Division, its units began training as 
soon as they arrived at Myitkyina and continued until they departed for 
combat. 45 

As last-minute preparations were made for opening of the postmonsoon 
offensive, the 38th Division and two regiments of the 30th Division were 
training in the Myitkyina area. The 89th Regiment, 30th Division, was ten 
miles south of Myitkyina on the Myitkyina-Bhamo road. The 14th Divi- 
sion was around Namkwi on the Burma Railways line five miles northwest 
of Myitkyina. The 50th Division had its headquarters at Mogaung, and its 
150th Regiment was there. The l49th was patrolling and training four miles 
southwest of Mogaung, while the 148th was in the Kamaing area, the scene 
of some of the bitterest fighting a few months before. The 22d Division 
had its headquarters at Kamaing. 46 

Logistical Support 

Given the smooth working of the Indian base described in Chapter I, the 
principal logistical problem as combat reopened in north Burma was that of 
delivering the supplies to the troops. The method characteristic of north 
Burma was airdropping. 47 By flying over the battlefield, transport aircraft 
could defeat all Japanese attempts at victory by encirclement and could make 
units at the front independent of ground lines of communications, thus 
greatly increasing their mobility. Units carried three days' rations and were 
continually resupplied bv air. The mission of storing, packing, and loading 
airborne supplies was given to the Air Supply Service of Advance Section 
No. 3 of the SOS at Ledo. A "British Wing" worked with Advance Section 
No. 3 to meet the problems of supplying the British 36th Division in the 
Railway Corridor. Packing, sorting, loading, and ejecting supplies from the 
aircraft were performed by units called air cargo resupply squadrons, which 
were attached to the Air Supply Service. 

Troops in the forward areas requested supplies be dropped on designated 
target areas, forty-eight hours in advance, when possible, but sometimes on 
an immediate basis to meet emergencies. G-4 of NCAC's Forward Echelon 
screened the requests, then forwarded them to the Air Control Section, which 
in turn sent them to the Air Supply Service. The service allocated orders 
among the several squadrons, according to the orders already assigned and 
the numbers of transport aircraft available. To permit better liaison between 
the 36th Division and NCAC, a British officer, Lt. Col. George Demetriadi, 
served as a member of the staff. 

45 NCAC G-3 Periodic Rpts, Sep and Oct 44. KCRC. 

46 History of IBT, I, 6. 

47 For a descri ption of th e origins, growth, and operations of air supply in CBI, see Stilwell's 
Command Problems ,1 pp. 95ff. I 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



97 



Each squadron had a complete supply depot. As squadrons received 
orders they made up planeloads from prepacked supplies. Those rare items 
not habitually stocked were brought up from rear depots to the Air Supply 
Service. Air Supply Service controlled the mechanics by changing each 
request for air supply into an airdrop order which was followed through to 
completion or cancellation. 

Because of the extremely heterogeneous nature of the Allied forces in 
north Burma— Chinese, British, American, Hindu, Moslem, Burmese, and 
so on— a corresponding variety in rations had to be delivered, posing some 
interesting problems in administration and in aircraft loading. The Chinese 
received rice, corn beef or pork link sausage, peanuts, spinach or peas, and 
the so-called Stilwell ration of crackers, one fruit bar, sugar, peanuts, salt, 
and a vitamin pill. This ration was eaten at noon when no hot lunch was 
served. The individual Chinese carried his own rice and at mealtime con- 
tributed his share to the cook. 

The Air Supply Service combined three standardized combat rations for 
the Mars Task Force (5332d Brigade) —three or four days' K or C rations, 
D ration bars, supplemented by fruit juices, dehydrated soup, coffee, sugar, 
peanuts, halazone tablets, vitamins, and salt, and canned heat. This gave a 
much better diet than was provided by straight C or K ration. In the spring 
of 1944 the Galahad Force had found C and K rations inadequate, the re- 
sulting dietary disturbances contributed to the later fatigue and illness that 
so harassed Galahad troops. All the components of the new ration were 
placed in hessian cloth sacks 32 inches by 14 inches. Weighing 13 to 17 
pounds, these loads fitted easily into the soldier's pack. An assembly line 
using mass production techniques to fill the packs kept pace with the needs 
of the front. 

The mules, horses, and ponies that carried the heavy loads were supplied 
by premixed loads of cereal fodder and salt in correct proportions, twenty-five 
pounds to the sack. This equaled two days' rations. Bags of grain were 
just loosely packed in double sacks and shoved out of the aircraft. Losses 
were quite reasonable. 

Indian-made containers, which could hold 465 pounds and cost only $3.63 
as against $30 to $45 for U.S. -made equipment, were standardized in the 
winter of 1944-45. They proved so successful and so economical that auto- 
matic shipment of containers from the United States was canceled by the Air 
Service Command. 48 

But the air supply effort, though the spearhead of logistics in north 
Burma, was only part of the picture. Supplies had to be delivered to the 
forward airfields from which the transports flew, and the Ledo Road's build- 



(1) SOS in IBT, Ch. IV. (2) Dupuy Comments. 



98 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ing and the whole complex of activities behind the fighting troops had to be 
supported. Fortunately, once the Chinese and Americans driving into Burma 
from Ledo were firmly in control of the Mogaung-Myitkyina area they were 
on the prewar Burmese road-river-rail network. The Ledo Road itself con- 
stantly fed tonnage into the forward area network. Parallel to and preceding 
the Ledo Road was the so-called combat road, in some places quickly bull- 
dozed out of the brush, in others merging into an improved section of exist- 
ing road or trail. The combat road stretched 139 miles from Shingbwiyang, 
in the upper Hukawng Valley, to Mogaung. An old oxcart road was re- 
habilitated from Mogaung to Myitkyina, which added 51 miles. Later, on 
the stretch from Mong Yu to Hsipaw, temporary bridges were built and the 
road maintained. Thanks to this ground line of communications, more ton- 
nage was trucked forward of Ledo than was flown by aircraft. And, along- 
side and supplied by the Ledo Road were the forward airfields and supply 
depots, Shingbwiyang, Tingkawk Sakan, and Warazup, fair-weather fields at 
Taihpa Ga and Maingkwan, and ten strips for liaison aircraft. 

As soon as the 48-mile Mogaung-Myitkyina section of the Burma Rail- 
ways was in Allied hands it was put into operation by the 6lst Transporta- 
tion Corps Composite Company. By the end of October 1944 the 61 st was 
running trains to Hopin, 70 miles from Myitkyina. "The detachment of two 
officers and 63 enlisted men operating five salvaged and repaired locomotives 
and several jeeps equipped with flanged wheels, carried 66,167 passengers and 
14,485 long tons of supplies in August, September, and October 1944, most 
of this in support of the British 36th Division driving down the railway 
corridor." 49 

Japanese Plans and Preparations 

While the Allied forces in India and Burma had been getting ready for 
the fall campaign — the British and Indian divisions by the steady advance of 
relatively fresh units and the rehabilitation of the veterans, the Chinese and 
Americans by training and reorganizing— and while the Allied leadership had 
been reaching its decision to move on Mandalay, the Japanese too had been 
planning and preparing. The problems the Japanese faced in September 
1944 were not unlike those of Hollanders who see the sea rising higher and 
higher, the waves here threatening to wash right over a low spot, and the 
pressure there steadily gnawing a hole, while the men behind the dike 
wonder which holes must be plugged now, which can wait a bit, and how 
long before the sea washes away dike, sandbags, laborers, and all. In the 
Central Pacific the American flood was roaring ahead, in Burma the dike 
showed an ever-widening leak, in Manchuria was a supply of resources 

49 History of IBT, 1,91-93. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



99 




Jeep Train on a Narrow-Gauge Line hauling supplies between Myitkyina and 
Mogaung. 



depleted by the removals of 1944, and in China was one last stockpile of 
arms and men. So Imperial General Headquarters weighed its perils and made 
its decisions. 

The Japanese command gave first priority to stopping the flood in the 
Central Pacific, and Manchuria and China yielded divisions accordingly. 
From Manchuria and Korea went the 1st, 8th, 10th, 12th, 19th, 23d, 24th, and 
66th Infantry Divisions, and the 2d Armored Division and most of the stock- 
piles so painstakingly accumulated. As a replacement, five divisions were 
organized in Manchuria and Korea. From China went the 62d and 26th, 
and later the 37th and 22d, these last two to Indochina. These were replaced 
by four new divisions, organized locally. 50 

Burma, in contrast to the Central Pacific, could not expect reinforcements. 
The tasks of Burma Area Army were reduced accordingly. Once, the mis- 
sion of Burma Area Army had been to cut land communications from India 

50 Japanese Study 45, pp. 157-60. 



100 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



to China. Now, in September 1944, Imperial General Headquarters instructed 
Southern Army that its subordinate headquarters in Burma was to put a lower 
priority on that mission than on holding southern Burma, lest the Allies 
move on from southern Burma to attack Thailand and Malaya. 51 

In making detailed plans, Southern Army and Burma Area Army weighed 
a number of factors. First was the state of the Japanese forces in Burma, 
which in the summer of 1944 were reduced to 100,000 combat troops and 
60,000 in the rear area. The Japanese system kept about 4,000 replacements 
a month flowing into Burma until September 1944. These plus the 53d and 
49th Divisions permitted rebuilding Burma Area Army to about 160,000 as of 
December 1944, which was a drop of 92,000 from the strength in March. 52 
Another factor to be considered in addition to the forces available was the 
desirability of protecting the oil fields of Yenangyaung and the rice of lower 
Burma. Then, too, the Japanese had established a puppet government in 
Burma, whose collapse would be a blow to Japanese prestige. Last of all, 
the Japanese had fears, well founded as it developed, of the political situation 
in Thailand. 53 

Trying to strike a balance between their resources and their missions, the 
Japanese staff in Burma decided Burma Area Army had to hold the line 
Lashio-Mandalay- Yenangyaung. Three operations were shaped to carry out 
the missions of holding south Burma and blocking the Allied attempts to 
open communications with China. Plans to keep China blockaded received 
the code name DAN. Plans to meet the anticipated attack of the British 
Fourteenth Army along the Irrawaddy in front of Mandalay were named 
BAN, and were for the decisive operation. Defense of the coasts was called 
KAN. 

The 33d Army in north Burma was responsible for the DAN operation, 
the 15th in central Burma for BAN, and the 28th along the Arakan coast 
and Irrawaddy Delta, KAN. The 15th Army was allotted 3 divisions, the 
28th Army had 2, plus an independent mixed brigade, and the 33d Army, 
2 more. Three were under Burma Area Army control. 

Reorganizing their divisions for the decisive battles, the Japanese cut their 
authorized strength to 13,000, reduced artillery batteries to three guns each, 
disbanded the infantry headquarters of the division, reorganized reconnais- 
sance troops as combat infantry, combed out service elements, and requisi- 
tioned oxcarts to replace the motor transport lost in the spring. To keep 
supplies coming forward, trains moved only at night and during the day hid 
on camouflaged sidings. The Burmese themselves moved rice between 

5 Japanese Study 45, p. 155. 

52 (1) Japanese Study 91, chart opposite p. 171. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft 
manuscript of this volume. (3) In January 1945 Southern Army was told it could not rely on 
reinforcements from Japan. Japanese Study 45, p. 182. 

53 Japanese Study 90. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 101 



Mandalay and Rangoon by some 20,000 oxcarts, which delivered about 
twenty tons a day. Small craft moved supplies on the rivers. 54 

The 33d Army, NCAC's immediate antagonist, decided that it would try 
to check and delay the Allied advance as far to the north as possible, strike a 
sharp blow at the Chinese divisions from Yunnan, but make its final stand 
on the line Lashio-Bawdwin-Mong Yang. It was influenced by the belief 
that to reopen satisfactory ground communications the Allies would have to 
come as far south as Lashio, that a line opened farther north would be so 
rough that little could be delivered to China. Inevitably, therefore, 33d 
Army and NCAC would differ in their appraisal of events in north Burma. 
The principal aim of 33d Army's operations, faithfully reflecting the direc- 
tives of higher headquarters, was to cover the flank of 15th Army while the 
latter fought the decisive battle for Burma. If the 15th could make its stand 
without interference from the American-trained Chinese divisions, then the 
33d could feel it had done its part. Certainly, a Japanese victory at Mandalay 
would go far to restore the situation in the north. 

To fight its delaying action, screen the flank of the 15th, and keep the 
Allies north of Lashio— whose possession by the Allies the Japanese thought 
to be essential to breaking the blockade of China— the 33d had the 18th and 
56th Divisions, plus the use of a regiment each of the 2d and 49th Divisions, 
at Bhamo and Lashio respectively. The link between 33d Army and the 15th 
Army was provided by the 53d Division, which with its two regiments was 
under control of the 15th. 

Reopening the Fight 

The plan that General Sultan adopted for NCAC to carry out Phase I of 
Capital called for a three-pronged attack sou th from Myitkyina into the 
Japanese holdings in north Burma fT/W/? 6)| On the west, the British 36th 

Division, followed by the Chinese 50th Division, was to move south down 
the Railway Corridor to secure the Katha-Indaw area. In the center, the 
Chinese 22d Division was ordered to move south, then east, to an area 
roughly halfway between the Railway Corridor to the west and the 
Myitkyina-Bhamo road to the east, to seize the airstrip northeast of Katha, 
where the 3d Indian Division had landed behind the Japanese lines in March 
1944, and secure a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy at Shwegu (the Irrawaddy 
here flows from east to west). On the east, the Chinese 38th Division was 
ordered to secure the area Bhamo-Mansi. Successfully completed, these 
operations would place the three divisions in line across north Burma from 
Katha through Shwegu to Bhamo." 

,4 Japanese Study 133. 

" History of IBT, I, 90-91. 



NORTH BURMA OPERATIONS 

15 October- 31 December 1944 

* AXIS OF ADVANCE ALLIED UNITS 
I. _ t JAPANESE UNIT 

•i* 11 " 1 Japanese positions at shamo 

^fe- JAPANESE COUNTERATTACK 




102 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The British 36th Division, Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing, was already- 
deep in north Burma when D Day, 15 October, arrived, for General Stilwell 
had used it to exploit the weaknesses in the Japanese position caused by the 
Allied successes at Mogaung and Myitkyina and the work of 3d Indian 
Division (the Chindits) in cutting the Japanese lines of communications. 56 

While the 36th was preparing for the move to north Burma it was visited 
by the Fourteenth Army commander, General Slim. Addressing the com- 
missioned and noncommissioned officers, General Slim said the 36th had 
been picked to serve in north Burma for two reasons: first, the high regard 
that Slim held for the division and General Festing, and secondly, the need 
for success in carrying out the task assigned to British troops in north 
Burma. The setback of 1942 had in General Slim's opinion lowered British 
prestige. Further, he considered that General Stilwell had little good to say 
about most British or Indian organizations. Therefore Slim had chosen the 
36th to play Britain's part, and had the fullest faith that his confidence would 
be justified. 57 

As the 72d Brigade, 36th Division, moved into the Mogaung area, it re- 
placed the 3d Indian Division, whose weary survivors were now being evacu- 
ated. The first Japanese position was met ten miles south of Mogaung, at 
Hill 60, which the exhausted Chindits had been unable to take. There was 
a brisk fight, in the course of which an attempted envelopment missed its 
mark and had to be retrieved under cover of smoke. Hill 60 was taken and 
the 72d resumed its southward advance after an enemy who now seemed bent 
on no more than delaying action. Taungni, the first objective, was occupied 
9 August. Perhaps anticipating his next orders, Festing continued the 
advance. 58 

On the 13th new orders came, to go as far south as possible. Aware that 
the last brigade of his division was now moving up to join him and that his 
organic division artillery was about to begin arriving, Festing gave free rein 
to his aggressive disposition and took Pinbaw as his next objective. Its cap- 
ture would place him twenty-six miles below Mogaung. Air support was 
arranged by conference with Brig. Gen. Russell E. Randall of the Tenth Air 
Force, and the administrative build-up of a line of communications down the 
railway from Mogaung began. Then further orders came from Stilwell, that 
Pinbaw was to be the limit of the 36th's advance for the time being. 

Pinbaw required three days' fighting, beginning 25 August 1944, before a 

56 (1) Geoffrey Foster, 36th Division, The Campaign in North Burma, 1944-1945, with fore- 
word by General Festing, pp. 7-9, 62-63. OCMH. (Hereafter, Foster.) Dr. Foster was 
Assistant Director of Medical Service (A.D.M.S.) for the 36th Division. (2) NCAC Operational 
Highlights, period 14 Oct 44-13 Jan 45. OCMH. 

57 Foster, p. 8. 

58 (1) Extracts from War Diary of Headquarters 36th Division, 3-12 Aug 44. OCMH. (Here- 
after, 36th Division Diary.) (2) Dupuy Comments. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



103 




Maj. Gen. Francis W. Festing and General Sultan crossing the Shweli River 
during the latter' s inspection of forward areas of the 36th Division in central Burma. 



rain-swollen stream was crossed and two outlying fortified villages cleared. 
On the 27th the only opposition came from rear- guard machine gunners, and 
that afternoon a patrol reported Pinbaw unoccupied. The village itself was 
no prize; the 36th's senior medical officer, Geoffrey Foster, later described it 
as "only a collection of wooden houses on stilts, situated in a sea of mud, 
slime, filth, and smells." But Pinbaw as a military objective represented a 
very considerable and rapid advance south under severe difficulties of terrain 
and weather, against a skillfully delaying enemy. Stilwell recognized the 
achievement and radioed Festing: "In getting your objective so promptly, 
congratulations to you and your men. Smart work. We are proud of you." 39 
The 36th Division was now on the line of departure for the fall offensive, deep 
in Burma. 

Ordered to wait for D Day in the Pinbaw area, Festing took the normal 

59 (1) Foster, page 14, quotes Stilwell's commendation. (2) 36th Division Diary, 13-27 
Aug 44. 



104 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



precaution of patrolling, but patrolling as he denned it meant excursions in 
strength. Not until Festing was operating about four miles south of Namma 
around 24 September were Japanese encountered in a strength that this 
forceful reconnaissance could not master. 60 

During this period in which Festing was establishing himself well ahead 
of the line of departure and was leaning against the forward Japanese out- 
posts, word came, on 12 September, that he was to be transferred back to 
London. 61 The NCAC staff quickly notified Stilwell, and the proposed trans- 
fer was canceled by Stilwell's personal intervention, the men of the 36th 
Division believed. 62 Plainly, the 36th and General Festing had won out. 

From 24 September to 15 October, D Day, the 36th held its positions 
around Namma. A great deal of work was done on the railway in repairing 
bombed-out bridges and relaying track; on the eve of D Day, trains could 
run from the Loilaw ferry, just below Mogaung, to within six miles of the 
front. 63 

As the 36th prepared to attack again, NCAC believed it faced some 
5,500 Japanese. These were thought to come from all three regiments of 
the 53d Division, and from the 34th and 24th Independent Mixed Brigades. 64 
After the war, officers of the 53d Division stated that following the pre- 
monsoon fighting the division was rebuilt with 2,400 replacements. It had 
never had but two regiments, the 128th and 119th, in north Burma. These 
two units, with two batteries of artillery, an engineer unit, and two attached 
independent infantry battalions, a total of just over 4,000 Japanese, faced the 
36th in the Railway Corridor. It was identifications from the two attached 
battalions that suggested to NCAC the presence of two independent mixed 
brigades. 65 

The British moved out on 15 October. At first, contact was light, but 
by the time they reached Mawlu on 31 October Japanese posts were stronger 
and closer together and their artillery and mortar fire was progressively 
heavier. However, at Mawlu the 36th was eighty miles south of Mogaung 
and very near the great bend of the Irrawaddy which was the goal for 15 
December. 66 The Japanese stiffened at Mawlu, and the 1st Battalion, Royal 
Scots Fusiliers, met artillery, mortar, and machine gun fire that took thirteen 
casualties. By evening the town was occupied. Road conditions were very 
bad, for the ground was still wet, and vehicles had trouble moving. 

60 (1) 36th Division Diary, 7-24 Sep 44. (2) Dupuy Comments. 

61 (1) 36th Division Diary, 12 Sep 44. (2) Rad CHC 4313, Cannon to Hearn, Sultan and 
Wessels, 13 Sep 44. Item 2815, Bk 7, JWS Personal File. 

62 Foster, p. 9. 

63 36th Division Diary. 

64 NCAC History, II, 180. 

65 (1) SEATIC Bull 244, pp. 21-22. MID Library. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on 
draft MS. 

66 3 6th Division Diary. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 105 



After occupying Mawlu the division paused until 9 November. There 
were brushes with Japanese, snipings, patrol actions, but no heavy fighting. 
Festing used the lull to bring up the 72d Brigade, and so make his advance 
one of brigades in line, with the 72d on the east, the 29th on the west. The 
72d would make the main effort. 

Moving down a dry-weather road parallel to the railway tracks, elements 

of the 72d Brigade on 10 November met stubborn resistance a few miles 
northwest of a railway station called Pinwe. It came from a cluster of 
bunkers, which together with heavy artillery fire and the identification of 
Japanese from a number of units all pointed to one conclusion for the 36th— 
it had met the Japanese main line of resistance in this area centering on 
Pinwe. 67 

The Pinwe area was well adapted to defense. Farther north the 36th had 
fought its way over rice fields, but here the bush made an impenetrable screen 
on either side of the jungle tracks. Flanking movements were so difficult 
that they were judged to be impossible. Frontal attacks after artillery and 
air preparations became the order of the day. 68 

The Japanese fought stubbornly at Pinwe. At night their infiltration 
parties harassed the British rear areas and sought to destroy their artillery. 
On one occasion, they thrust so deftly into the British positions as to cut 
off two companies of infantry, which had to be withdrawn at night. The 
fighting resolved itself into British attempts at prying the Japanese out of 
their strongpoints, while maintaining a close guard against Japanese raiding 
parties. In these days the 72d Infantry Brigade, which had been trying to 
force its way over the stream covering the principal Japanese positions, took 
heavy casualties and had to be relieved by the 29th Infantry Brigade. On 
25 November the British did put a company across the stream, but found 
they could not reinforce or supply it. That was the last major offensive 
effort; on 29 November the Japanese were found to be evacuating their 
positions, and the British entered Pinwe on 30 November. 69 

The Japanese lines at Pinwe were held by the 119th Regiment, 53d Divi- 
sion. Pinwe was the hardest fighting the 53d had encountered, and the 119th 
received a diploma of merit for its work there. On 25 November the 53d 
Division had received orders to fall back until it crossed to the east bank of 
the Irrawaddy, so that it might take part in the anticipated decisive action in 
central Burma, and had begun its withdrawal accordingly. 70 

A pause followed on the Pinwe action, and when the advance resumed 
there was no opposition. The towns of Indaw and Katha were entered by 

67 36th Division Diary. 

68 Foster, p. 20. 

69 36th Divisi on Diary . 

70 Bull cited n. |65(l)| 



106 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




British Casualties being treated by medics of the 60th Portable Surgical Unit (Ameri- 
can ) during the 36th Division drive on Pinwe, Burma. November 1944. 



patrols on 10 December. Katha was a river port on the Irrawaddy, a railway 
terminus, and a town of some size. Its occupation marked the successful 
completion of Phase I of Capital by the 36th Division, four days ahead of 
schedule. The only fight of consequence had been at Pinwe, and that had 
been the only delay the Japanese had imposed. On 14 December the 36th 
Division elements in Katha were met by an American patrol of the 475th 
Regimental Combat Team, which meant that Sultan's drive in the center was 
likewise close behind the retreating Japanese. 71 

The Attack in the Center 

Sultan's orders to the NCAC forces in the center called for them to advance 
rapidly to the old airstrip twenty miles southeast of Hopin and then swing 
east to seize a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy in the Shwegu area. Only one 

71 36th Division Diary. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 107 




Pack Artillery Troops of the Chinese 22d Division waiting to be ferried across the 
Irrawaddy River. General Sultan is in the background ( right ) wearing a campaign hat, 
November 1944. 



division, the Chinese 22d, was used, leaving the Chinese 14th Division in 
reserve, because the Japanese were believed to have only a light covering 
force between the Railway Corridor and the Myitkyina-Bhamo road. The 
estimate was a good one, for the Japanese did have their strongest concen- 
trations on either flank of the Allied advance. In the center there were only 
two battalions, guarding a ferry across the Shweli River at Myitson. This 
was well to the south, and many weeks of marching, as of 15 October, lay 
between the Allied forces and Myitson. The Japanese 33d Army was well 
aware that it had guarded the Railway Corridor and the Lashio area at the 
expense of the center, and narrowly watched Allied progress there. 72 From 
positions in the Kamaing area, far behind the outposts held by the 36th 
Division in the Railway Corridor, the 22d began its march on 15 October. 
It was to move southeast toward Mogaung, but bypassing the town to save 
ten miles, then toward Pinbaw, then Hopin. As the march got under way 

72 Japanese Study 9 1 - 



108 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



it appeared that the long rest after combat had left troops and animals in 
poor condition. The troops were traveling as light as possible, but fatigue 
was evident when after three days the division reached Hopin. Predawn 
departures were ordered to keep to a minimum the time spent marching 
under the full sun, and a day of rest was spent at Hopin. 

At Hopin the division turned east, to take a route that would sorely test 
the marching powers of its troops, for the chosen trail led over the ridge 
that marked the eastern boundary of the Railway Corridor, down into a plain 
formed by a tributary of the Irrawaddy, where the old Chindit airstrip Broad- 
way was located, and up again over a hill mass overlooking the Irrawaddy 
valley. On 26 October the division reached the airstrip, twenty-seven miles 
southeast of Hopin. 

General Liao Yueh-shang, commanding the New Sixth Army, of which 
the 22d Division was part, flew in to Broadway, and gave the division 
detailed orders for the final move to the Irrawaddy. The division was formed 
into two columns. On the west, the 64th Regiment was directed to take 
Shwegugale, which lay on the south bank downstream from Shwegu. The 
65th and 66th were to move off as one column, then to split into combat 
teams just north of the Irrawaddy and cross on a broad front. Kachin 
irregulars and patrols reported there were no Japanese ahead, and after a 
three-day rest the division resumed its advance. 

On 3 November the division occupied the north bank of the Irrawaddy 
without opposition. The troops rested while commanders studied maps and 
waited for rubber boats and outboard motors to be airdropped. Three days 
later the 64th Regiment crossed the Irrawaddy and took Shwegugale against 
light opposition. Next day the 65th Regiment took Shwegu, and the division 
had its first objectives. 

So far the 22d had been tested by mountain marches, with no opposition 
worthy the name. The orders now received at Shwegu meant that combat 
lay ahead, for they directed two regiments, the 65th and 66th, to occupy a 
point from Man Tha, on the principal road south from the Japanese strong- 
hold of Bhamo, to the largest Japanese concentration in the center of the 
north Burma combat zone, the Shweli ferry site of Myitson. The 64th was 
ordered to stay and garrison the Shwegu area. 73 

Man Tha was occupied without incident 14 November, and a roadblock 
set up to intercept any Japanese who might attempt to move south from 
Bhamo. There was no sign of a Japanese reaction, and the two regiments 
were ordered to move still farther south, straight down the Bhamo-Myitson 
road to a village called Si-u, which is about thirty miles south of Man Tha 
and separated from the Shweli valley by a narrow range of 3,000-foot hills. 74 

73 NCAC History, II, 207-12. 

74 NCAC History, II, 213. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 109 



In its operations in the Si-u area, the 22d Division would be supported by 
American combat troops. The 475th Infantry, now commanded by Col. 
Ernest F. Easterbrook, sent the first march serial south from Camp Landis on 
15 November. 75 The first serial was the 2d Battalion plus the 31st Quarter- 
master Pack Troop, under Lt. Col. Benjamin F. Thrailkill. The 3d Battalion 
left a day later, then the 6l2th Field Artillery Battalion, and finally the 1st 
Battalion, each at a day's interval. By 27 November all the serials had 
closed in the assembly area, on the Myitkyina-Bhamo road about twenty 
miles northeast of Bhamo. There the 475th reorganized as battalion com- 
bat teams; after a rest they moved down the Myitkyina-Bhamo road until 
they arrived at Momauk, where the road swings west to Bhamo. Bhamo 
was then under siege by the Chinese 38th Division; the combat teams by- 
passed it, then marched west. In the area south of Shwegu they began moving 
south again, toward Si-u and the Shweli River. 76 

In mid-November 1944 the main strength of the Japanese 18th Division, 
Lt. Gen. Eitaro Naka, was moved west from around Namhkam to the area 
around Mongmit, a road center southeast of Myitson. Its mission was to 
prevent the Allies from separating the 15th and 33d Armies. 11 A projected 
move of the 2d Division to the Mandalay area was delayed. These orders 
meant that Galahad's and the 22d's old adversaries, the 55th and 56th Regi- 
ments of the 18th Division, would be barring further Allied progress south. 
Rebuilt to a strength of 18,000, the 18th Division was again an effective 
fighting machine. 78 

Once in the Si-u area, the 22d Division sent outposts in various directions 
to secure the area. One of these, the 3d Battalion, 66th, went about five and 
one-half miles southwest of Si-u to the village of Tonkwa. In organizing 
the area, the Chinese put their command post at Mo-hlaing, about 2,500 
yards northeast. Meanwhile, on the Japanese side of the Shweli, General 
Naka seems to have decided on a policy of aggressive defense. A strong 
Japanese task force, with elements of both the 55th and 56th and artillery 
support, was sent north across the Shweli about 6 December, aimed at 
Tonkwa. 79 

On that same day of 6 December the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 475th 
Regiment received orders to relieve the 2 2d Division in the region of 
Mo-hlaing, about a mile north of Tonkwa. General Wedemeyer's plans to 
strengthen the Chinese Central Government were beginning to affect the 

75 On activation, the 475th was commanded by Colonel Osborne, a veteran battalion com- 
mander of the Galahad force who was taken ill in October from the effects of the jungle campaign 
the spring before and had to be evacuated. His successor was Stilwell's son-in-law. Osborne 
commanded the 124th Cavalry Regiment in the later phases of the campaign. 

76 475th Un it History . NCAC files, KCRC. 

77 Bull cited ln. 65(1)1 pp JTTl 

78 Japanese Study 91. 

79 NCAC History, II, 213. 



110 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



course of operations in Burma, for on 5 December the new Sixth Army 
received orders to prepare the 22d Division to be airlifted to China. 80 The 
475th would have to replace it. If General Naka chose to stage a local at- 
tack he would find the central portion of the NCAC offensive in a difficult 
position. 

Naka's task force made its presence felt on 8 December with an attack on 
Tonkwa. The outnumbered Chinese battalion fell back to the north, and 
next day the Japanese were attempting to move into Mo-hlaing itself. There 
with the Chinese they met the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of 
the 2d Battalion, 475th Infantry, which was a day's march ahead of the 
battalion, and once again Americans and Japanese were fighting in Burma. 

Fighting Around Tonkwa 

The Japanese approaching Mo-hlaing early in the morning of 9 December 
as though they thought it unoccupied. They seemed to have no more than 
five platoons and when contact was made immediately attacked. Moving 
toward the northeast on either side of the Tonkwa-Mo-hlaing road the 
Japanese succeeded in breaking into the Chinese perimeter. An American 
counterattack restored the situation. As the fighting went on that morning, 
sometimes hand to hand, Americans and Chinese shared the same foxholes 
and fought shoulder to shoulder in the most literal sense. 81 

About three miles to the northeast of Mo-hlaing, marching down the 
Si-u road, were the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 475th, less Company E of the 
2d Battalion, which was acting as the advance guard. The 1st Battalion was 
securing the Shwegu area. Colonel Thrailkill of the 2d Battalion ordered 
the I and R Platoon to fall back on E Company. The rest of the 2d Bat- 
talion was sent swinging round to the southwest to Tonkwa itself. Thus, 
at the end of 10 December, the 475th had its two battalions in line facing 
west, the northernmost or 3d Battalion near Mo-hlaing, the southernmost or 
2d Battalion opposite Tonkwa. The Chinese 66th Regiment, under orders 
now to move to China, asked to be relieved in the Tonkwa area and the 
475th agreed, moving forward accordingly. 82 The Americans had no orders 
to go farther into Japanese-held territory, for the decision to move the 
Chinese 22d Division from Burma to China halted the center portion of the 
NCAC offensive. Whether a battle would develop rested with the Japanese. 

Over 11 and 12 December Japanese patrols checked American positions 
and sporadic Japanese artillery and mortar fire harassed the soldiers in their 

80 (1) 475th Unit History. NCAC files, KCRC. (2) NCAC History, II, 215. (3) See Ch. 
IV, below. 

81 (1) NCAC History, App. 1, 5332d Brigade, Ch. V, pp. 3, 5. (Hereafter, History of 5332d.) 
(2) NCAC History, II, 213. 

82 History of 5332d, Ch. V, p. 4. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 111 




Field Conference at Sikaw, Burma, 12 December 1944. From left, Col. M. Fisher, 
Liaison Officer, 22d Division; Maj. R. Leonard, S-3, 475th Infantry; Col. Ernest F. 
Easterbrook, Commanding Officer, 475th Infantry; General Willey; and Col. Joseph W. 
Stilwell,Jr., G-2, Northern Area Combat Command. 



foxholes. American patrols in their turn found what seemed likely Japanese 
assembly areas, and American artillery shelled them. On the 12th the 
Chinese withdrew. The night was quiet, but tension was in the air for the 
Japanese seemed to be "all around." 83 

The Japanese activity had apparently been preparation for attack, and on 
the morning of the 13th men checked their weapons with care and looked 
to the arranging of their ammunition in convenient spots. The American 
positions had the advantage of excellent fields of fire across open paddy fields. 
Looking toward the south and the west, the men of the 475th could see the 
dark green mass of leaves, trunks, and brush making the jungle that hid the 
Japanese assembly areas and, farther back, the Japanese gun positions. Fol- 
lowing a ten-minute preparation, the Japanese attacked one American flank 
at 0600 and the other at 0610. The 475th's fire power met the Japanese as 

83 Quotation from diary, Lt Col John H. Lattin, 12 Dec 44. Lattin was then executive officer 
of the 2d Battalion. 



112 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Christmas Day at Tonkwa. In the background, Marsmen attend religious services 
while their comrades in the foreground, manning a 7 '5 -mm. MlAl pack howitzer, main- 
tain alert vigil against possible enemy attack. 



soon as they were clearly defined targets, and stopped the attacks within an 
hour. At one point a Japanese force of about a platoon tried to cover the 
open space by a concerted rush only to be cut down with thirty or forty 
casualties. There were no further Japanese attacks that day. The following 
morning, the 14th, the Japanese repeated their tactics of the 13th, and that 
effort too was beaten off, at the cost of several men killed. The 475th's 
entry into combat had the result on the men noted by observers in many 
previous wars, for they now spent hours digging themselves in more deeply 
and improving their positions. 84 

Contrary to what had been the usual Japanese tactics when on the offen- 
sive, Naka's men did not repeat their efforts, which suggests his mission had 
changed. What now followed was patrol activity as both sides sparred in 
the open space between their respective perimeters. At only one point was 
there continual close contact, where a body of Japanese were holding a 

84 Lattin diary, 13, 15, 16 Dec 44. 



BEGINNING THE FALL CAMPAIGN IN NORTH BURMA 



113 



pocket close to E Company of the 2d Battalion. Patrolling meant a series of 
sharp little clashes as parties from the two sides met by accident, it meant 
ambushes carefully laid in wooded draws near the American lines, and it 
meant sniping as one man stalked another. 85 The situation of patrolling and 
intermittent Japanese shelling and machine gun fire continued in the area of 
the 2d Battalion until 15 December. 

The 3d Battalion to the north near Mo-hlaing was subject only to artil- 
lery fire. That the Japanese at one point were actually within small arms 
range of the 2d Battalion while apparently not capable of doing more than 
shelling the 3d with their infantry guns suggested that the 3d might be able 
to take in reverse the Japanese pocket that pressed on the 2d Battalion. 

Sent into action against the Japanese the morning of 15 December, L 
Company (reinforced) of the 3d Battalion came down from the Mo-hlaing 
area to the north. Forming an arc around the Japanese who had occupied 
a wooded area, adjacent to E Company's position near Tonkwa, L Company 
began closing in. A paddy field lay to the west of the woods, and the Jap- 
anese sought to withdraw across it, in the process drawing fire from both the 
encircling and holding elements of L Company. By midafternoon the area 
seemed free of Japanese. Two Americans were killed, and nineteen Japanese. 

After these small operations there followed a period of a week in which 
Japanese and American patrols skirmished about the 475th's perimeter de- 
fenses, and Japanese sporadically shelled the American positions. The 475th 
was ordered simply to hold the area and thus cover the 22d's flight to China 
from a nearby airstrip, while the Japanese had not seized their opportunity 
to exploit their initial successes. As Christmas 1944 drew nearer signs of 
Japanese grew fewer and fewer. The command post of the 475th was moved 
into Tonkwa itself, patrols reported no contact, and by Christmas it was ap- 
parent that the Japanese had gone. 86 In these actions, the 475th lost 1 officer 
and 14 enlisted men, and estimated that it had killed about 190 Japanese at 
Tonkwa and about 30 near Shwegu. 87 

After the war, Japanese senior officers said that communication intercepts 
had given them clear indication of the withdrawal of Chinese divisions from 
Burma. Having broken the Chinese codes they felt they "knew practically 
everything about their opponents." From this information they concluded 
that no large-scale offensive south of Lashio was planned by NCAC. This 
fitted well into Japanese plans to fight a decisive battle near Mandalay. One 
may therefore conclude the Japanese were content to accept the status quo 
near Tonkwa and to concentrate on what they regarded as more vital areas. 88 

85 John Randolph, Marsmen in Burma (Houston, Tex., 1946), pp. 96-97. 

86 History of 5332d, Ch. V, pp. 7-11. 

87 Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 99. 

88 (1) SEATIC Bull 242, pp. 76-77. MID Library. (2) Quotation from Col Masanobu Tsuji, 
former opns officer, 33d Army Staff, in Japanese Officers' Comments. OCMH. 



CHAPTER IV 



Breaking the Blockade of China 

Of the three moves by NCAC, only one was aimed toward China. The 
drives down the Railway Corridor and toward the Shweli would keep the 
Japanese away from the trace of the projected line of communications, but 
only the easternmost drive— down the Myitkyina-Bhamo road— could clear 
the way for vehicles and gasoline to enter China on the ground. As the 
Chinese New First Army (30th and 38th Divisions) completed preparations 
for the 15 October 1944 offensive, a reconnaissance east from Myitkyina to- 
ward China revealed that the Japanese grip had already been pried from the 
northeast corner of Burma. I (See Map 6 )| 

Maj. Benjamin F. Thrailkill, who as a lieutenant colonel later commanded 
the 2d Battalion of the 475th at Tonkwa, left Myitkyina on 27 August with 
a company of Chinese and a platoon of U.S. infantry, plus engineers, signal, 
medical, and OSS personnel, with orders to establish contact with the Chi- 
nese from Yunnan. Moving east via Fort Harrison (Sadon), Thrailkill and 
his force met the Yunnan Chinese on 6 September in the Kambaiti Pass 
(Kauliang Hkyet). Eight days later Thrailkill and his men were back at 
Myitkyina. 

The Thrailkill expedition, as it came to be called, established that the 
trail to China was passable, with numerous dropping ground and camp sites. 
The local inhabitants were thought to be friendly toward the Americans, but 
not to the Chinese. No Japanese were met. 1 

NCAC Drives Toward China 

The initial NCAC orders to General Sun Li-jen's New First Army called 
for it "to advance rapidly on Bhamo, destroy or contain enemy forces there; 
seize and secure the Bhamo-Mansi area, and be prepared to continue the ad- 
vance." 2 The key point was Bhamo, the second largest town in north 
Burma and the end of navigation on the Irrawaddy. Before the war the 

' History of 5332d, Ch. III. 

2 History of Combat in the India-Burma Theater, 25 Oct 44-15 Jun 45, p. 5. OCMH. 
(Hereafter, IBT Combat History.) 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



115 



town had been a thriving river port; the great 400- foot river steamers had 
brought cargoes and passengers from Rangoon to Bhamo for the short over- 
land trip to China. When in May 1944 the Chinese and Americans had 
struck Myitkyina that town had had only the defensive capabilities inherent 
in any inhabited locality. Nevertheless it had held out till August. Now, 
in the fall of 1944, the Chinese in north Burma faced a town that not only 
possessed natural defenses but had been strongly fortified in addition. 
Bhamo's military importance lay in that it dominated the ten-mile gap be- 
tween the Irrawaddy River and the plateau that is the eastern side of the 
Irrawaddy valley. Through that space the Ledo Road would have to be 
built. 

A force moving from Myitkyina to Bhamo in October 1944 would find 
a good prewar road connecting the two towns. The road did not parallel 
the Irrawaddy closely, but had been placed on higher ground to the east, in 
the foothills, to lift it above the monsoon floods. The wooded hills and the 
tributaries of the Irrawaddy that cut across the road offered obvious oppor- 
tunities to a defending force. Of these tributaries the Taping is the most 
considerable. 

Entering the Irrawaddy just above Bhamo, the Taping is a large river in 
its own right. Its sources extend so far into the plateau that marks the Sino- 
Burmese border that one of its own tributaries flows past the city of Teng- 
chung where there had been some of the heaviest fighting of late summer 
1944 between Chinese troops seeking to break into Burma from that side and 
the Japanese 56th Division trying to keep a block on the Burma Road. 

Japanese documents dated early September 1944 and captured a few weeks 
later showed that the Japanese planned to delay around Bhamo in threee 
stages. In the first, the Japanese outpost line would be defended from Sinbo 
on the Irrawaddy to Na-long on the Myitkyina-Bhamo road, about halfway 
down to Bhamo, and thence to the upper reaches of the Taping River. The 
second Japanese line was the Taping River, whose crossings were to be for- 
tified. The third stage was Bhamo itself. 

These lines were manned by the 2d Battalion, 16th Regiment, and the 
Reconnaissance Regiment of the 2d Division. The division was ordered to hold 
the outpost line until 20 September, the line of the Taping to mid-Novem- 
ber, and Bhamo itself to late December. 3 These time limits seem not to 
have been known to the individual Japanese, who were exhorted: 

As it was with the heroes of Myitkyina, so it must be with the Bhamo garrison. . . . 
Do not expect additional aid. . . . Each man will endeavor to defend his post to the 

3 (1) IBT Combat History, p. 6, and facing Japanese map. (2) Bhamo's provisions would 
last only until the end of December. (3) Ltr, Hq NCAC, 27 Nov 44, sub: Translation of 
Captured Documents. Folder, Complete Translations, Nos. 151-250, NCAC files, KCRC. (4) 
Ltr, Hq New First Army to CG CAI, Dec 44, sub: Captured Enemy Documents. NCAC files, 
KCRC. 



116 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



utmost— to the death ... If, for the success in the large sense, units in dire straits are 
overlooked in the interests of larger units do not expect to be relieved, but be cognizant 
of the sacrifice you as an entity will make to insure the success of the whole. 4 

The 38th Division led the advance of the New First Army and was 
charged with taking Bhamo. Possibly because D Day was 15 October, more 
than three weeks after the date to which the Japanese had planned to defend 
their outpost line, the Sinbo-Na-long line was crossed without incident. 
With the 113th Regiment in the lead the Chinese moved right down the 
road to Bhamo without a significant contact until 28 October when Japanese 
patrols were met two miles north of the Taping River, the next Japanese de- 
fense line. These were brushed aside, and the 113th was on the river bank, 
occupying Myothit. 

Here was the Japanese outpost line of resistance; the Chinese patrols 
speedily found that the Japanese meant to defend it. Strong Japanese posi- 
tions were seen on the south bank, and the commander of the 38th Division, 
General Li Huang, saw that he would have to force a defended river line 
unless he could turn the Japanese position. General Li decided to use the 
112th and 114th Regiments, which had been the main body of the 38th, as 
an enveloping force. Since they were some seven miles to the north the 
112th and 114th were out of contact with the Japanese and well placed to 
make a wide swing to the east. The two regiments began their march 
through the hills, while the 113th made a show of activity around Myothit 
to keep the Japanese attention focused there. 

Once again envelopment proved its worth. The Japanese were too few 
to defend a long line, and the enveloping force was able to cross the Taping 
at an unguarded bridge upstream, go around the right end of the Japanese 
outpost line of resistance, and emerge on the Bhamo plain on 10 November. 
Pressing on west toward Bhamo, the enveloping force met a strong en- 
trenched Japanese force at Momauk, which is eight miles east of Bhamo and 
is the point at which the Myitkyina-Bhamo road swings to the west for the 
last stretch into Bhamo. Here there was savage fighting between the 114th 
Regiment and the Japanese defenders. Heavily outnumbered, the Japanese 
outpost at Momauk was driven into the main defenses at Bhamo. The ap- 
pearance of its survivors, some without rifles, others without shoes, depressed 
the Bhamo garrison. 5 

Meanwhile, the 113th Regiment at Myothit on the Taping River profited 
by these diversions to force a crossing. Then, instead of coming down the 
main road, the 113th went west along the Taping's south bank, where there 

4 (1) IBT Combat History, p. 8. (2) Under interrogation, one enemy prisoner stated that at 
first the Japanese were told they must fight to the death, but later that if they fought well they 
would be allowed to evacuate. Superior Pvt Rokuro Wada, 12 Dec 44. Folder 62), 411-420, 
NCAC files, KCRC. 

5 (1) IBT Combat History, pp. 7-9. (2) Statement of Pvt Wada cited n. 4(2). 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 117 




General Sultan and General Sun Li-jen, commanding the Chinese New First 
Army, examine enemy equipment left behind at Momauk, Burma, by fleeing Japanese 
troops. 

was a fair road, and came at Bhamo from due north. The Japanese sought 
to delay along the road and at one point, Subbawng, three miles north of 
Bhamo, appeared ready to make a fight of it. Here the 113th's commander 
elected to rely on the unexpected. Leaving a small force to contain the gar- 
rison of Subbawng, he moved south directly across the face of the defenses, 
at close proximity, and only ended his march when he was south and south- 
east of Bhamo in the suburbs of U-ni-ya and Kuntha. As a result of these 
several and rather intricate maneuvers — with the 114th Regiment attacking 
west from Momauk, the 113th cutting between the Momauk outpost and the 
Bhamo garrison, and the 112th bypassing the fighting completely to move 
on down the Bhamo road toward Namhkam— a loose arc was drawn around 
the Japanese outposts in the Bhamo suburbs, with the 113th holding the 
south portion of the arc and the 114th the north. 6 

6 IBT Combat History, p. 11. 



118 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Finally facing Bhamo, the Chinese saw a town that was deceptively pleas- 
ant in appearance. Bhamo, lying between the Irrawaddy River to the west 
and a ring of lagoons to the east, seemed like a city in a park. Unlike the 
close huddle of buildings and shops that is the usual settlement in Asia, 
Bhamo reflected the years of peace under British rule in Burma, for its homes 
and warehouses were spread out among grassy and wooded spaces. The 
Burmans, Shans, and Kachins who worked in Bhamo tended to cluster to- 
gether in suburban communities. Over all were the pagoda spires. But 
each of these features, so attractive in peace, held a menace to the Chinese. 
The almost complete ring of lagoons channeled the attack. The spaces be- 
tween buildings gave fields of fire to the defense. The pagodas were natural 
observation posts. And the thick brick and concrete walls that had been 
meant to give coolness now gave protection against Chinese shells and bul- 
lets. The Japanese were known from aerial photography to have been for- 
tifying Bhamo; how well, the infantry would soon find out. 7 

Attack on Bhamo 

The first Chinese attack on Bhamo itself was given the mission of driving 
right into the city. Made on the south by the Chinese 113th Regiment, the 
attack received heavy air support from the Tenth Air Force. It succeeded in 
moving up to the main Japanese defenses in its sector, but no farther. 
American liaison officers with the 113th reported that the regimental com- 
mander was not accepting their advice to co-ordinate the different elements 
of the Allied force under his command or supporting him into an artillery- 
infantry-air team, and that he was halting the several portions of his attack 
as soon as the Japanese made their presence known, 8 

However, the 113th's commander might well have argued that he and his 
men faced the most formidable Japanese position yet encountered in Burma. 
Aerial photography, prisoner of war interrogation, and patrolling revealed 
that the Japanese had been working on Bhamo since the spring of 1944. 
They had divided the town into three self-contained fortress areas and a head- 
quarters area. Each fortress area was placed on higher ground that com- 
manded good fields of fire. Japanese automatic weapons well emplaced in 
strong bunkers covered fields of sharpened bamboo stakes which in turn were 
stiffened with barbed wire. Antitank ditches closed the gaps between the 
lagoons that covered so much of the Japanese front. Within the Japanese 
positions deep dugouts protected aid stations, headquarters, and communica- 

7 Capt. Erie L. Stewart, Asst G-2 NCAC, The Japanese Defense of Bhamo, 3 Mar 45. OCMH. 
( Hereafter, The Japanese Defense of Bhamo. ) This study has an excellent aerial photograph as 
its Appendix VII. 

ft NCAC History, II, 201-03. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



119 



tions centers. The hastily improvised defenses of Myitkyina were nothing 
like this elaborate and scientific fortification. Manned by some 1,200 Jap- 
anese under Col. Kozo Hara and provisioned to hold out until mid-January 
1945, Bhamo was not something to be overrun by infantry assault. 9 

Meanwhile, north of Bhamo, where the Chinese had not moved closer 
to the city than the containing detachment the 113th had left opposite the 
Japanese outpost at Subbawng, the 114th was making more progress. That 
regiment bypassed the Subbawng position on 21 November and moved two 
miles west along the south bank of the Taping River into Shwekyina. Out- 
flanked, the Japanese quickly abandoned Subbawng and the rest of the 114th 
came up to mop up the Shwekyina area, freeing advance elements of the 
114th to move directly south through the outlying villages on Bhamo. 

On 28 November the 114th was pressing on the main northern defenses 
of Bhamo. In this period of 21-28 November the division commander, Gen- 
eral Li, did not alter the mission he had given the 113th of entering Bhamo, 
but by his attention to the 114th he seemed to give tacit recognition to the 
altered state of affairs. 10 

The Chinese lines around Bhamo were strengthened by putting the 3d 
Battalion of the 112th into place on the southern side between the Irrawaddy 
River and the road to Namhkam. This permitted a heavier concentration of 
the 113th east of Bhamo, and that unit was given another chance at a major 
attack. Such an effort would be supported by twelve 75-mm., eight 105-mm., 
and four 155-mm. howitzers and a company of 4.2-inch mortars. 11 Supported 
by air and medium artillery, the 113th on the east again showed itself willing 
to move up to the Japanese defenses but no further. Moreover, it did not 
appear able to take advantage of the artillery concentrations laid down for it. 
At this point, an American division commander would have relieved the 
113th's commander, but the Chinese response was to shift air and artillery 
support to the 114th. 

The ll4th's aggressive commander had been most successful in the early 
days of December. With less than half the air support given the 113th and 
with no help from the 155-mm. howitzers, he had broken into the northern 
defenses and held his gains. The decision to give the 114th first call on ar- 
tillery support posed a problem in human relations as well as tactics. This 
was the first time the 38th Division had ever engaged in the attack of a forti- 
fied town. All its experience had been in jungle war. Faced with this new 
situation, the 113th Regiment's commander seemed to have been at a loss to 
know what to do. The 114th, on the contrary, had gone ahead with con- 
spicuous success on its own, and now was being asked to attempt close co- 

9 (1) The Japanese Defense of Bhamo. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft MS. 

10 NCAC History, II, 201-03. 

11 IBT Combat History, p. 13. 



120 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ordination with artillery and air support. Its commander hesitated for a day, 
then agreed to try an attack along the lines suggested by the Americans. 12 
The tactics developed by the 114th Regiment by 9 December took full 
advantage of the capabilities of air and artillery support. Since the blast of 
aerial bombardment had stripped the Japanese northern defenses of camou- 
flage and tree cover it was possible for aerial observers to adjust on individual 
bunkers. So it became practice to attempt the occupation of one small area 
at a time. First, there would be an artillery preparation. Two 155-mm. 
howitzers firing from positions at right angles to the direction of attack 
would attempt to neutralize bunkers in an area roughly 100 by 300 yards. 
Thanks to the small margin of error in deflection, the Chinese infantry could 
approach very close to await the lifting of fire. The 105's would lay down 
smoke and high explosive on the flanks and rear of the selected enemy posi- 
tions. Aerial observers would adjust the 155's on individual positions. 
When it was believed that all Japanese positions had been silenced the Chi- 
nese infantry would assault across the last thirty-five yards with bayonet and 
grenade. 13 

Meanwhile , the Japanese 33d Army sent a strong task force under a 
Colonel Yamazaki to attack toward Bhamo in the hopes of creating a diver- 
sion that would cover the breakout of the Bhamo garrison. Comprising 
about 3,000 men with nine guns, the Yamazaki Detachment moved north from 
Namhkam the evening of 5 December to move on Bhamo via Namyu. 14 
Operating south of Bhamo was the Chinese 30th Division, which had been 
ordered to move on down the general line of the Bhamo road to take Namh- 
kam. Twenty-two miles south of Bhamo the leading regiment, the 90th, 
encountered rough country, with hills up to 6,000 feet, and six miles farther 
on the first Japanese patrols and outposts were encountered. The 2d Batta- 
lion, on the far right, pulled up along a ridge about 1 December. The dom- 
inant height in the area, Hill 5338, was the object for the next ten days of 
operations that to American liaison officers appeared prolonged beyond all 
reason. When it was finally occupied, the Japanese immediately began at- 
tacking in strength, and the battalion soon showed itself as stubborn in de- 
fense as it had been lethargic in attack. 15 These Japanese attacks, regarded 
as a reaction to the loss of Hill 5338, were actually the Yamazaki Detachment 
making its arrival known. 

To the left of the 2d Battalion, across the road, was the 1st Battalion, 
with the mission of keeping contact between the 90th Regiment and the rest 
of the division and of protecting a battery of the division artillery. In at- 

12 NCAC History, II, 203-04. 

13 The Japanese Defense of Bhamo. 

14 Japanese Study 148, pp. 40-41. 

15 NCAC History, II, 253-57. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



121 




Front-Line Position, 30th Chinese Division sector. Two American liaison officers 
discuss the tactical situation. 



tempting to execute this mission the battalion spread itself over a two-mile 
front. On the night of 9 December the battalion received a heavy bombard- 
ment followed by a Japanese attack which penetrated its lines and isolated its 
1st and 2d Companies. This was bad enough, but worse followed the next 
morning. Colonel Yamazaki massed three battalions in column to the east 
of the road, and, attacking on a narrow front, broke clean through by leap- 
frogging one battalion over another as soon as the attack lost momentum. 
The third Japanese battalion overran the 2d Artillery Battery, 30th Division, 
and captured four cannon and 100 animals. The battery commander died at 
his post. 16 

The Chinese were not dismayed by the setback but fought with a spirit 
novel to the Japanese. The 88th Regiment swung its forces toward the 
Japanese penetration, which was on a narrow front, and since the terrain was 

16 (1) NCAC History, II, 258, 259. (2) Japanese Study 148, App. D, The Yamazaki Detach- 
ment in the Battle at Namyu. 



122 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



hilly in the extreme the Japanese could see Chinese reinforcements converg- 
ing on the battle site. So vigorously did the Chinese counterattack that one 
lone Chinese soldier fought his way almost into the trench that held Colo- 
nel Yamazaki and the 33d Army liaison officer, Colonel Tsuji. Writing in 
his diary, Tsuji remarked: "This was the first experience in my long military 
life that a Chinese soldier charged Japanese forces all alone." 17 

The Chinese, comprising as they did three regiments of a good division, 
could not be indefinitely withstood by the four Japanese battalions. Destroy- 
ing the four pack howitzers they had captured, the Japanese sought only to 
hold their positions until the Bhamo garrison could escape. 18 

Meanwhile, within Bhamo, the Japanese garrison was making preparations 
to break out. Its mission of delay was well-nigh accomplished, and a further 
reason for its departure was provided by the increasing successes of the 114th 
Regiment in the northern part of Bhamo. By 13 December this unit had 
penetrated the northern defenses and was cutting its way into the central part 
of Bhamo. 19 

At this point, Chinese techniques of war intervened to change what might 
have been the inevitable end of the story, a heroic suicidal dash by the Bhamo 
garrison on the machine guns of the besiegers, the so-called banzai charge that 
had been the final episode for so many Japanese garrisons before. American 
liaison officers with the Chinese formed the impression that a co-ordinated 
attack by the Chinese had been planned and ordered for 15 December. 20 

On the night of the 14th the Japanese in the garrison tried to fire off all 
their ammunition. Then they moved out into the river bed of the Irrawaddy 
and charged the Chinese lines along the river at daybreak. Taking advantage 
of the early morning mists, they moved through the Chinese lines to safety. 
As soon as the garrison was clear, the Japanese word for "success" was broad- 
cast to the waiting Yamazaki Detachment, which promptly began to disen- 
gage. The Japanese claim that 950 of the garrison's 1,200 men made their 
way safely to Namhkam. American records support the claim of a success- 
ful withdrawal. After the war, the Chinese chronicler, Dr. Ho Yung-chi, 
former vice-commander of the 38th, stated that the Bhamo garrison was 
allowed by General Sun Li-jen to escape, only to be annihilated later. How- 
ever, the agreement between the Japanese and American accounts, plus the 
fact that the American liaison officers with the 38th Division were told 

17 Japanese Study 148. 

18 Japanese Study 148, p. 42. 

19 (1) Japanese Study 148. (2) Japanese PW Statements. Folder 62J, 411-420, Japanese 
Documents, NCAC files, KCRC. (3) NCAC History, II, 204. 

20 The American combat narratives, prepared in 1945 from sources at the disposal of NCAC, 
such as liaison officers' reports, Daily Operational and Intelligence Summaries, and the like, refer 
to the proposed attack of 15 December. There is no hint that the American liaison officers knew 
Sun had ordered that the Japanese were to be allowed to escape. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



123 



nothing either of Sun's order to let the Japanese garrison through his lines 
or of any later annihilation of 950 Japanese, suggests that there are some 
flaws in the Chinese account. 21 

If to Western minds the reasoning which permitted the Japanese garrison 
of Bhamo to live to fight another day was difficult to follow, a Western 
observer had to admit that the performance of the Chinese 38th Division at 
Bhamo compared most favorably with that of the combined Chinese and 
American forces at Myitkyina six months before. That within thirty days 
the Chinese 114th Regiment should have hacked a way through defenses 
the Japanese had been six months preparing and have accomplished the feat 
with artillery and air support that was slight in comparison with that at the 
disposal of Allied forces elsewhere reflected the greatest credit on the unit 
and its commander. 



Last Days of the Burma Blockade 

After the fall of Bhamo, the Chinese Army in India and the Chinese 
Yunnan divisions, or Y-Force, were within fifty air miles of each other. 
This narrow strip of rugged, hig hly defensib le terrain was the last Japanese 



block across the road to China. {Map 7) 



The Chinese Army in India had before it a march of twenty miles south- 
southeast over fairly level country; then it met the escarpment that was the 
western edge of the great plateau through which the Shweli and Salween 
Rivers had cut their valleys, the great plateau on which, far to the east, was 
China's Yunnan Province, Kunming, and the Hump terminals. The road 
the Chinese took was an extension of the Myitkyina-Bhamo road, one-way 
and fair-weather but leading directly to the old Burma Road. All the road 
needed was metaling and widening and it would be ready for heavy traffic 
as the easternmost end of the Ledo Road. The road met the hills about 
twenty miles south of Bhamo. Crossing a series of ridges it entered the 
Shweli valley. It then swung northeast for about thirty miles and linked 
with the old Burma Road at Mong Yu. East of the Shweli valley, over 
fifteen miles of 5,000-foot hills, was the Burma Road. 

Therefore, after the fall of Bhamo, the task facing the Allies in north 
Burma was to clear the 33d Army with its approximately 19,500 Japanese 
from the remaining fifty-mile stretch that lay between the two Chinese 
armies. 



21 (1) Japanese Study 91 states the Bhamo garrison made good its escape and rejoined the 2d 
Division. (2) Japanese prisoners of war taken later in December 1944 state that 400 to 600 
Japanese evacuated Bhamo. Folder 62), 41 1-420, Japanese Documents, NCAC files, KCRC. (3) 
NCAC History, II, 205, says that an attempt was made to intercept the Japanese but failed because 
reserves were too far away. (4) Dr. Ho Yung-chi, The Big Circle (New York: The Exposition 
Press, 1948,) p. 130. 




D Holm«i,Jr. 



MAP 7 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



125 



The positions the Japanese held in the Shweli valley from Namhkam to 
Wanting could have been most formidable. Namhkam, for example, had 
originally been fortified with the expectation that the whole of the 18th Divi- 
sion would hold it. However, the 33d Army's mission was only to delay the 
Chinese while the decisive battle was fought out around Mandalay; there was 
no thought of fighting to a finish and the 33d organized itself for combat 
accordingly. The Japanese positions in the vicinity of the valley covered the 
Burma Road, the main avenue of approach to Mandalay from the northeast. 
The bulk of the Japanese forces was deployed in the Wanting-Mong Yu 
area facing the Y-Force. The strongly fortified Wanting was held by the 
56th Division, and ten miles to the rear along the Burma Road at Mong Yu 
was the 168th Infantry Regiment of the 49th Division, Colonel Yoshida. 
Thirty miles to the southwest of Wanting the Yamazaki Detachment , 3,000 
strong, manned the Namhkam defenses astride the route of advance of the 
Chinese New First Army, thus protecting the left and the rear of the main 
body of Japanese troops in the Wanting-Mong Yu area. The 4th Infantry 
Regiment, 2d Division, Colonel Ichikari, located at Namhpakka on the Burma 
Road near its intersection with the road leading to Namhkam, was in a good 
position to be used as a tactical reserve along either of the roads. Thirty- 
third Army had expected that the Ichikari and Yoshida regiments would be 
transferred to the Mandalay area and the Japanese intended to keep them in 
reserve, but the Chinese pressure forced their commitment. 22 

As of 17 December NCAC headquarters believed, and correctly, that in 
the Tonkwa-Mongmit area, the center of the Japanese position in north 
Burma, they faced a strong force of the 18th Division. At Namhkam, NCAC 
estimated there were 2,500 Japanese, and from Namhpakka to the north edge 
of the Shweli valley, 2,500 more. In the north end of the valley, around 
Wanting, NCAC placed the 56th itself. A week later NCAC's G-2, Col. 
Joseph W. Stilwell, Jr., estimated that only delaying action and minor 
counterattacks were to be expected from the Japanese. 23 

When the Chinese 22d Division was recalled to China, in mid-December, 
General Sultan changed his plans and regrouped his forces. His original 
thought had been to send the 2 2d Division wide to the south and then east 
to place it across the old Burma Road in the Namhpakka area. This would 
cut off almost the whole of the 33d Army to the north and make inevitable 
its withdrawal, which in turn would clear the way for the Ledo Road to be 
linked with the Burma Road. In so planning, he was aware of the possi- 
bility that some Chinese divisions might be recalled to China and arranged 
his dispositions accordingly. He hoped that his forces might swing east like 
a giant gate whose southernmost edge would hit Lashio, but if he lost some 

22 Japanese Study 148, pp. 43-44. 

23 NCAC G-2 Rpts, 17, 24 Dec 44. NCAC G-2 files, KCRC. 



126 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



of his Chinese troops then he planned to compensate by shortening his gate 
and making a shallower swing to the east. Across the Al lied line from w est 



to east Sultan's new orders directed the following moves: (See Map 7.) 

(1) The British 36th Division would move east of the Irrawaddy, tnen 
southeast via Mongmit to cut the old Burma Road in the Kyaukme-Hsipaw 
area, well south of Lashio. 

(2) The 5332d Brigade (Mars Task Force) would make a most difficult 
march across hill country to the Mong Wi area, then cut the Burma Road 
near Hosi. Essentially, this was the mission once contemplated for the 22d 
Division. 

(3) The Chinese 50th Division, which had been following the British 
36th Division down the Railway Corridor, would move just to the east of 
that unit, cross the Shweli River near Molo, and then move southeast to take 
Lashio. It thus moved into the area formerly occupied by elements of Mars 
Task Force. 

(4) The Chinese New First Army would occupy the upper Shweli valley 
from Namhkam to Wanting and reopen the road to China. 24 

The earliest action in the drive south from Bhamo to link up with the 
Y-Force and clear the road fell to the Chinese 30th Division. While the 
38th had been besieging Bhamo, the 30th had been sent past it; the 30th was 
the division that had fought the Yamazaki Detachment at Namyu when the 
latter sought to relieve Bhamo. General Sun Li-jen, army commander, now 
ordered the 90th Regiment, 30th Division, to move straight down the road 
toward Namhkam. The 88th and 89th Regiments were sent on a shallow 
envelopment south of the road, to come up on Namhkam from that direc- 
tion. The 38th Division was used for wide envelopments to either side of 
the 30th Division, and one of its regiments was kept in army reserve. 25 

After the heavy fighting of mid-December, the 30th Division did not find 
the Japanese to its front intent on anything more than light delaying action. 
The stage was set for a swift advance into the Shweli valley, but the com- 
mander of the 90th Regiment was not so inclined and, as he had the center 
of the Chinese line, the flanks delayed accordingly. His repeated failures to 
advance, and his practice of abandoning supplies and then requesting more 
by airdrop, were regarded by the American liaison officers as having wasted 
two weeks after the action at Namyu; his relief was arranged in early Janu- 
ary. The new regimental commander, Colonel Wang, was energetic and a 
sound tactician; the regiment's performance improved at once. 26 

The 90th Regiment now moved with more speed, and soon reached the 



24 History of IBT, I, 137-39. 

25 History of IBT, I, 182. 

26 (1) History of NCAC, II, 260-61. (2) The Japanese remarked on the slow progress of the 
Chinese advance. Japanese Study 148, p. 45. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



127 



hill dominating the southwestern entrance to Shweli valley. The term valley 
as applied here refers to a stretch of flat ground about 25 miles long and 
from 4 to 6 miles wide carved from the mountains by the Shweli River and 
its tributaries between Mu-se and Namhkam. The floor of the valley, 2,400 
feet above sea level, is dotted with villages. The existing road, whose trace 
the engineers planned to follow, closely hugged the hills forming the south- 
eastern edge of the valley. Namhkam was built along the road near the 
southwestern end of the valley and its immediate approaches were dominated 
by a hill mass abutting the Bhamo road between the river and its small 
tributary to the north. 

Facing this terrain, the Chinese chose to circle around the southwestern 
end of the valley with the 90th Regiment, while the 112th Regiment was 
ordered to move directly across the valley on Namhkam. Units of the regi- 
ment began crossing the Shweli on 5 January 1945 ; the whole regiment was 
across in fifty hours. The regiment now came swinging around the south- 
east corner of the valley and up the eastern side of Namhkam. Meanwhile, 
the 88th Regiment had entered the valley along the road and cut across the 
little plain directly toward Namhkam. 

Namhkam itself was occupied on 16 January by the 2d Battalion of the 
90th. Only a few shots marked the change in ownership, and two Japanese 
were killed. Inspecting the settlement, the Chinese realized that the Japanese 
had not planned to stand there. So there was no dramatic battle. The sig- 
nificance lay in that the Japanese had been pushed away from the lower end 
of the Shweli valley. Once the valley was in Allied hands, the road to China 
was open, and on 15 January the Japanese 33d Army, which attached little 
significance now to blockading China, was slowly pulling back off the trace 
of the road to China. 27 

Since the 38th Division had been engaged at Bhamo while the 30th 
Division had bypassed the fighting there and gone on toward the Shweli 
valley, its regiments were behind the 30th and, in effect, had to follow it in 
column before they could swing wide to envelop the Shweli valley. The 
112th Regiment had been pulled out of the lines at Bhamo just before the 
city fell and sent toward the Shweli valley along trails running through the 
hills north of the Bhamo road. There was little contact with the Japanese, 
and as the 112th moved along it stopped on Chinese soil, so close is the 
Bhamo area to China. This made the 38th the first Chinese unit to fight its 
way back to Chinese soil. Moving steadily on, the regiment was in the 
Loiwing area on 6 January 1945. In 1941 Loiwing had been the site of the 
Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company plant. In 1942 Chennault and the 
American Volunteer Group had operated from the Loiwing field for several 

27 History of NCAC, II, 261-62. 



128 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Burmese Idol in Namhkam. American and Chinese soldiers are from the Northern- 
Combat Area Command. 



months. Now, it was back in Allied hands. Patrolling from the Loiwing 
area across the Shweli to Namhkam, the 112th concluded that the road to 
Namhkam was open. It requested permission to take the town, but was 
held back until the 30th Division occupied it. 28 

The 114th Regiment, which had so distinguished itself at Bhamo, was 
given the mission of swinging wide around the southern end of the Shweli 
valley. Because of the casualties the 114th had taken at Bhamo it had to be 
reinforced with the 1st Battalion of the 113th. The mission it received was 
to be a severe test of its marching powers, for on reaching the south end of 
the Shweli valley it was to ford the Shweli, move south and east through 
the hills on the right flank of the 89th Regiment as the latter moved on 
Namhkam, then continue its march to cut the Namhkam-Namhpakka trail 
about midway. At the mid-point, the village of Loi-lawn, it would be about 



28 History of NCAC, II, 272-74. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



129 




Two Soldiers. An American- trained and -equipped soldier of the Chinese Army in 
India ( left ), compares lots with a Chinese Expeditionary Force soldier at Mu-se, Burma. 

seven miles from the old Burma Road, which was the line of communica- 
tions to the Japanese 56th Division in the Wanting area. Crossing the 
Shweli on 10 January, it reached Ta-kawn on the 16th. Making this the 
regimental base with a garrison and air supply facilities, Col. Peng Ko-li sent 
two battalions off to cut the Namhkam-Namhpakka trail. The Japanese 
resisted stubbornly, and not until the 19th were the Chinese across the trail. 29 
With the southern end of the Shweli valley firmly in Chinese hands by 
17 January, General Sun issued his next orders, which called for the 112th 
and 113th Regiments to move up the Shweli valley toward Wanting and 
secure the trace of the Ledo Road. At this point the conceptions of the 
battle held by NCAC and 33d Army were very much at odds. NCAC saw 
its men as fighting their way up the valley in a northeasterly direction. The 



2 9 History of NCAC, II, 275-76. 



130 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Japanese saw themselves as falling slowly back from the Shweli under pres- 
sure from the northwest. Actually, the only pressure from the northwest was 
that of the 30th Division and the Mars Task Force, which after rounding 
the Namhkam corner were moving southward toward the Burma Road. In 
the northern two thirds of the Shweli valley, the 38th Division's flank guards, 
as they drove northeast, were brushing across the Japanese rear guards, 
which were falling back to the southeast and attempting to cover the Burma 
Road, their line of communications and avenue of retreat. 

Such being the case, the 38th not surprisingly met little resistance as it 
drove up the Shweli valley. The 36th Division was holding strongly only at 
Wanting, where the road up the valley met the Burma Road, and not until 
the 38th Division approached Wanting did Japanese resistance stiffen. 

First contact with the Japanese came at Panghkam, a village near the 
northern exit of the valley. The 113th stayed in the valley, and the 112th 
was sent wide into the hills to the right of the road near Se-lan. Japanese 
resistance was of the rear-guard variety; the 113th was only slowed, not 
stopped. As it approached Mu-se, the exit of the valley, its leading 
elements on 20 January joined with Chinese troops of the Yunnan divi- 
sions. 30 These men had entered the Shweli valley by enveloping its northern 
end, much as Sun Li-jen's troops had enveloped the southern, then driving 
directly across to the southern side. The trace of the road was not yet open, 
but the presence of the Yunnan troops meant formal opening was only a 
matter of days. 

The End of the Salween Campaign 

While the Chinese Army in India had been moving on and then encir- 
cling Bhamo, the battered divisions of General Wei Li-huang's Chinese 
Expeditionary Force had been trying to recover from the blows inflicted on 
them by the September Japanese counteroffensive, which the Chinese had 
manfully stemmed. 31 At the end of the battle, both sides were exhausted, 
but the Chinese could claim the advantage. They had kept the Japanese from 
reoccupying the terrain about Teng-chung and Ping-ka, which controlled 
passes into Burma north and south of the Burma Road, and they had held 
on to Sung Shan, from which Japanese artillery had once controlled the 
ascent of the Burma Road from the Salween gorge. On the Burma Road 
itself, the Chinese, with the survivors of seven divisions, were in a semicircle 
to the east of Lung-ling. 

As October began, American liaison officers with the Chinese saw traffic 
movements and demolitions within the Japanese lines that convinced them, 



30 Ibid. 

31 For a description of the September fighting, see Stilwell's Command Problems, Chapter XI. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



131 



and correctly, that the Japanese were thinning their lines, that only rear- 
guard action was contemplated. 32 

The Chinese of XI Group Army completed their preparations for the next 
attack, and on 29 October it began. Thirty-seven P-40's from the Four- 
teenth Air Force flew close support for the Chinese 200th Division, a veteran 
of the 1942 campaign, which led the assault. South and west of Lung-ling, 
elements of the Chinese 200th swung around to attack positions along the 
Burma Road behind Lung-ling. Meanwhile, two divisions of the 71st Army 
put heavy pressure on the Japanese garrison, with artillery support up to 
1,700 rounds and 30-40 air sorties per day. Late on 3 November the last 
Japanese left Lung-ling and at 2300 the Honorable 1st Division moved 
through the gutted center of the town. 33 | {Map 8) ~ 



A pause followed which thoroughly disturbed General Dorn, the chief 
of the Y-Force Operations Staff advising General Wei. Dorn saw no reason 
why the Chinese should not follow closely on the Japanese rear guards, 
feared that the Chinese were delaying, and asked Wedemeyer to intervene 
with the Generalissimo. Wedemeyer agreed, and pointed out to the Gen- 
eralissimo that it was important to finish the campaign and free the Y-Force 
for service in China. On 9 November the Generalissimo agreed to give the 
necessary orders. 

In addition to advising on strategy and tactics and furnishing air support, 
the American forces gave medical aid. From the opening of the campaign 
in May 1944 to November they treated 9,428 Chinese, of whom only 492 
died. Many wounded never reached an American hospital because of the 
rough terrain, but even so this was the best medical aid Chinese forces in 
China had yet enjoyed. 

Receiving the Generalissimo's orders to advance, General Wei sent his 
XI Group Army (53d, 2d, 71st, 6th Armies) against Mang-shih, the 56th 
Division's former headquarters. One army moved through the hills on the 
north side of the Burma Road, and two on the south, while the 71st came 
down the road itself. Having strict orders to avoid any decisive battle, the 
56th Division contended itself with demolitions, burning the rice harvest, and 
delaying the Chinese with rear-guard actions. Casualties were light among 
the Chinese as they advanced through Mang-shih on 20 November. At this 
point the Chinese were about seventy miles away from Namhkam in the 
Shweli valley. Mang-shih was a valuable prize because of its airstrip. 
Speedily repaired, it permitted the C^46's of the 27th Troop Carrier Squadron 
to land supplies, a much more economical and satisfactory means than air- 



32 (1) Y-FOS Journal, KCRC. (2) Japanese Studies 93 and 148. This section, unless other- 
wise noted, is based on these sources. 

33 Comments of Col. John H. Stodter on draft MS of this volume. 




MAP H 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



133 



dropping. 34 Meanwhile, the Fourteenth Air Force continued to harass the 
retreating Japanese, bombing all bridges and likely Japanese billets. The 
Japanese were careful to stay clear of the Burma Road in daylight, but con- 
tacts with their rear guards gave the P-40's opportunity to demonstrate close 
air support. 

By this time Wei had a solution to his tactical problems. One army 
moved along each of the ridges that paralleled the road, and the rest of his 
forces came straight down the road. If the Japanese, as at the divide between 
Mang-shih and the next town twenty-four miles away, Che-fang, attempted a 
delaying action with a small force, the wings of Wei's force simply out- 
flanked them and forced them back. If the Japanese, as seemed likely to be 
the case at Wanting, attempted a stronger stand, then Wei was advancing in 
a formation well adapted to rapid deployment and encirclement. Che-fang 
fell on 1 December, and Wanting was the next target. 

Lying as it does at the northeastern exit of the Shweli valley, on the 
Burma Road, Wanting had to be taken. Moreover, pressure on Wanting 
would make it difficult for the Japanese to transfer units from that front to 
meet the NCAC troops at the southwestern end of the Shweli valley. 

Not for another thirty days did the Chinese resume their offensive down 
the Burma Road. Asked by Y-Force Operations Staff to send out strong 
patrols at least, the Chinese were willing, but ordered their patrols to stay 
out of Wanting. The Chinese unwillingness to advance down the Burma 
Road and end the blockade of China as quickly as possible, at a time when 
Wedemeyer was making every effort to bring aid to China, moved the latter 
to make very strong representations to the Generalissimo. After describing 
the situation around Wanting, Wedemeyer wrote: 

1. It is a policy of the China Theater not to give aid to those who will not advance; 
therefore, no air support has been given to these divisions nor to the others in that sec- 
tion who, apparently having similar instructions, cannot advance. The Chief of Staff 
[General Ho] has been promised renewed efforts when he puts into effect plans which 
are now being developed to take Wanting. His earlier plans to send two regiments as 
patrols into Wanting did not materialize. 

2. I feel certain that if you will issue orders to these C.E.F. [Chinese Expeditionary 
Force] forces to take Wanting, they have the ability to do so in a short time. I certainly 
will provide all the air support possible which should greatly facilitate the capture of the 
objective. 35 

Then, on 15 December, Bhamo was evacuated by the Japanese. General 
Wei may have wanted to delay his attack until he could be sure that the 
NCAC forces would not be delayed by another siege like that of Myitkyina. 



34 See Stilwell's Command Problems ^Chapter III] for a discussion of the several techniques of 
air supply. 

35 Memo 275, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 10 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 



134 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Wei's divisions were now far understrength, since replacements had not been 
supplied, and lacked 170,000 men of their prescribed strength. 36 

As part of his swing around China Theater, Wedemeyer visited Wei on 
20 December. The American commander urged Wei to resume the offen- 
sive, to link his forces with Sultan's because the east China situation de- 
manded everyone's aid. Apparently, Wei's circumstances were changing, 
because in late December the Y-Force began its last battle. 

The first Chinese attack was made by the 2d Army on the Japanese right 
flank, in the area of Wanting. Initially, it went very well. The Chinese 
9th Division on 3 January broke through to the village streets, finally reach- 
ing the Japanese artillery positions. The Japanese rallied, and there was 
bitter hand-to-hand fighting— "pistols, clubs, and bayonets"— according to 
the Japanese account. That night the Japanese counterattacked successfully 
and drove out the Chinese. 

Wei then shifted his attack to the Japanese left flank, which lay along the 
Shweli River. The Chinese succeeded in establishing a bridgehead but could 
not hold it against Japanese counterattacks by two regiments, and the attempt 
failed. A pause of a week or so followed. 

The Japanese defense of Wanting had been successful, but while the 56th 
Division had been fighting in that area, Sultan's NCAC forces in the 
Namhkam area, including the Mars Task Force, had begun moving east- 
ward toward the Burma Road. If they succeeded in blocking the Burma 
Road, the 56th Division's position obviously would be compromised. So the 
problem the Japanese faced was to know how long they could afford to fight 
at Wanting before the exit slammed shut. As noted above, the Mars Task 
Force had been dispatched by Sultan to block the Burma Road, and by 17 
January it was clashing with Japanese outposts adjacent to it. Weighing all 
these factors, the 56th Division in mid-January estimated it could hold its 
present positions about one week more. The 33d Army could not afford to 
cut things too fine, and so the 56th began to shorten its perimeter as it pre- 
pared to withdraw south down the Burma Road while time remained. 

Since attempts at enveloping the Japanese position had been successfully 
countered by the alert defenders, the American liaison section with XI Group 
Army, Col. John H. Stodter commanding, suggested that Wei try a surprise 
attack on the center, which seemed to be lightly held. American liaison 
officers took an active part in the planning. After the war, as he looked 
back with satisfaction on the careful co-ordination of air, artillery, and in- 
fantry weapons that distinguished this attack from many of its unsuccessful 
predecessors along the Salween, Stodter thought it the "best coordinated" he 

36 Memo 304, McClure for Generalissimo, 20 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 
This memorandum describes Wedemeyer as being disturbed over the replacement problem in the 
Y-Force. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



135 



had seen to that time in the Y-Force. From his observation post, Stodter 
watched the Chinese infantry attack on 19 January and climb up the domi- 
nant local peak, the Hwei Lung Shan. Chinese artillery, mortar, and ma- 
chine gun fire pounded the Japanese trenches until the last moment, then 
the Chinese infantry attacked with grenade and bayonet. The attack suc- 
ceeded, Japanese counterattacks failed, and the Japanese hold on Wanting 
was no longer firm. 37 

On 20 January elements of the Chinese 9th Division found Wanting 
empty. Later in that day patrols from Wei's army met other patrols from 
Sultan's Chinese divisions. The long Salween campaign was drawing to a 
victorious close; the road to China was almost open. 

The final work in opening the Burma Road would have to be done by 
the Chinese Army in India. On 22 January the Generalissimo ordered the 
Chinese Expeditionary Force to concentrate north of the Sino-Burmese border. 
He informed his commanders that remaining Japanese resistance would be 
cleared away by the Chinese Army in India. Two days later General Wei 
ended his offensive, and ordered his units to stay in place until relieved by 
one of Sultan's. The Salween campaign was thus formally ended 24 January 
1945. 

On the vast panorama of the world conflict the Salween campaign did 
not loom very large to the Western world. But the Chinese had succeeded 
in reoccupying 24,000 square miles of Chinese territory. It was the first time 
in the history of Sino-Japanese relations that the Chinese forces had driven 
Japanese troops from an area the Japanese wanted to hold. To this effort 
China had contributed initially perhaps 72,000 troops and in the fall of 1944 
some 8,000 to 10,000 replacements, plus the elite 200th Division. The 
United States had given 244 75-mm. pack howitzers, 189 37-mm. antitank 
guns, and infantry weapons, plus sufficient ammunition. American in- 
structors and liaison officers had sought to assist the Chinese in their con- 
duct of operations. The Fourteenth Air Force had been ordered to draw 
heavily on its small resources to support the operation. The Japanese had 
initially faced Wei's men with 11,000 soldiers and thirty-six cannon. For 
their fall offensive they had reinforced the much-reduced original garrison 
with 9,000 more soldiers from the 2d and 49th Divisions. 

The military significance of Wei's victory lay in the trucks and artillery 
which now would move into China, and in the three elite divisions released 
for service there. For the future, the Salween campaign demonstrated that, 
given artillery and heavy weapons plus technical advice, Chinese troops, if 
enjoying numerical superiority of five to one or better, could defeat the forces 

37 Stodter comments on draft MS. Elsewhere in his comments, Stodter remarks that Chinese 
noncommissioned officers and junior officers, though inexperienced, appeared brave and intelligent, 
while the Chinese private won the affectionate regard of those Americans who served wirh him. 



136 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



of the Great Powers. Observing the campaign, the American liaison officers 
had concluded that technical errors by the Chinese reduced the combat effi- 
ciency of the Chinese forces. Failure to bypass isolated Japanese units; in- 
ability to co-ordinate infantry and artillery; faulty maintenance of equipment 
and poor ammunition discipline— all tended to offset the valor and hardihood 
of the Chinese soldier. None of the practices was beyond correction. As 
the Chinese improved, they would require less in the way of numbers. 38 

Opening the Ledo Road 

In the period between the split of the CBI Theater in October 1944 and 
the fall of Bhamo on 15 December, the Ledo Road engineers under General 
Pick brought the survey of the Ledo Road from a point just below and east 
of Kamaing, 211 miles from Ledo, to a juncture with the Myitkyina-Bhamo 
road. The Ledo Road was to bypass Myitkyina, for there was no point to 
running heavy traffic through an inhabited place, and Myitkyina's supply 
needs could be served by an access road. Metaling and grading were com- 
plete almost to Mogaung. The Mogaung River had been bridged near 
Kamaing, and a temporary bridge placed across the Irrawaddy. Tonnage car- 
ried on the road for use within Burma was steadily rising. In early October 
it had carried 275 tons a day; by the latter part of the month the rate was 
twice that. 39 Immediately after Bhamo's capture, the advance headquarters 
of the road engineers was moved to that town. A combat supply road was 
made from Mogaung, below Myitkyina, to a point just ten miles west of 
Namhkam. 

Progress during December was steady, swift, and uneventful because once 
the roadbuilders reached the Myitkyina area of north Burma only routine 
engineering remained. In mid-January the Ledo Road was linked with the 
Myitkyina-Bhamo road, at a point 271 miles from Ledo. The Myitkyina- 
Bhamo road was being metaled, and, significant of the state of the link to 
China, the first truck convoy was poised at Ledo ready to drive to Kunming. 
The road to China was complete, as far as the engineers were concerned. 
Beginning the traffic flow now depended on driving away the Japanese. A 
four-inch pipeline paralleled the road as far as Bhamo, where the intent was 
to send the line cross country to China, rather than along the next stretch of 
road. The mission of clearing the Japanese rear guards from the last stretch 
of the road trace was given to the 112th and 113th Regiments of the Chinese 
38th Division, with the 113th moving up the valley along the existing road 

38 Liaison officer reports in Y-FOS files, Kansas City Records Center, contain many comments 
on Chinese tactics and techniques, 1943-45. 
} 9 History of IBT, I, 172-73. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



137 




Ponton Bridge Over the Irrawaddy River was an important link in the Ledo 
Road. 



from Panghkam and the 112th going through the hills. By 23 January the 
112th had reached a point in the hills south of the valley road from which it 
could, through a gap in the hills, see the Shweli valley road behind the 
Japanese lines but at a range too great to bring fire to bear. The regiment 
halted that afternoon and formed its defenses for the night. The precaution 
was wise, for that afternoon and evening several Japanese detachments with- 
drawing from the valley area found the 112th across their projected routes 
and at once tried to fight their way through. There was brisk fighting, and 
sixty-seven dead Japanese were later buried around the regiment's positions. 

Meanwhile, the first convoy had closed on the Namhkam area and was 
waiting for the all-clear signal. The road stretch from Namhkam to the 
northeast was being efficiently interdicted by fire from a Japanese 150-mm. 
howitzer. The convoy was heavily laden with representatives of the press; 
there would be a great to-do if a 150-mm. shell burst among them on a sec- 
tion of road that the Army had designated as clear, and so the convoy was 



138 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



held up several days at Namhkam while NCAC pressed the Chinese to open 
the road and also tried to silence the 150-mm. howitzer by counterbattery. 

An artillery observation craft was sent aloft and after some time managed 
to locate the Japanese howitzer. Several rounds were fired; the Japanese 
finally displaced the howitzer to a safer spot. 40 

To expedite the clearing of the road, the NCAC chief of staff, Brig. Gen. 
Robert M. Cannon, conferred with the Chinese commander, General Sun 
Li-jen, on 24 January and received General Sun's promise that the road 
would be open on 27 January. Unknown to the two Allied officers, the 
Japanese began withdrawing the 36th Division from the Wanting area on 23 
January, beginning with their casualties and ammunition. 41 Reflecting the 
decisions of the conference, the 113th Regiment moved forward on the 25th, 
and by the night of the 26th there were only five miles of Japanese-held 
territory between the two Chinese armies. 

On the night of the 26th plans were made for an attack by armor and 
infantry, supported by artillery, to clear the last five miles. Careful co-ordina- 
tion was needed lest the attack carry on into the Y-Force, beyond, and con- 
ferences between U.S. liaison officers from Y-Force and NCAC sought to 
arrange it. The attack moved off the morning of the 27th, with the tanks 
overrunning the little village of Pinghai, the last known enemy position. It 
fell without opposition. Meanwhile, an air observer reported that he saw 
troops in blue uniforms, undoubtedly Y-Force soldiers, in the area where 
the Shweli valley road joined with the Burma Road. A message was sent 
out canceling all artillery fire. Unfortunately, soldiers of the 38th opened 
small arms fire on the Y-Force troops. 

At this point, Brig. Gen. George W. Sliney, who had been an artillery 
officer in the First Burma Campaign, intervened to halt what might have 
become an ugly incident. Fearlessly exposing himself to the Chinese bullets, 
he walked across the line of fire and forced it to stop. Sliney then walked 
over to the Y-Force lines. So ended the blockade of China. 

Soon after, some tanks with the 38th mistakenly fired on Y-Force men. 
Their artillery retaliated. Only prompt action by General Sun Li-jen and 
the liaison officers with the 112th straightened out the affair. With this mis- 
understanding ended, the road to China was open, and the first convoy was 
ready to roll. The Ledo Road, built at an estimated cost of $148,000,000, 
was open. 42 

The confusion that attended the meeting between Y-Force and the 

40 NCAC History, III, 282, hints the piece was destroyed, but Lt. Col. Trevor N. Dupuy, who 
was in the area, states it was merely forced to move. 

41 Japanese Study 148, p. 48. 

42 (1) NCAC History, III, 283-85. (2) Dupuy witnessed Sliney's act. Dupuy comments on 
draft MS. (3) Stodter comments on draft MS. (4) Memo, Engr Hist Div, Office, Chief of Engrs, 
25 Mar 53. OCMH. 




Chinese Coolies Leveling a Roadbed/^ the Twg-chmg <utoff route to Kunming, 



140 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Chinese Army in India was only a reflection of the greater confusion that 
surrounded the actual declaration that the road to China was open and the 
blockade broken. The several headquarters involved in the operation were 
aware of the public relations aspect of the feat; there were sixty-five press 
and public relations people in the first convoy as one indication of it — more 
reporters than there were guards. 

The inaugural convoy had departed from Ledo on 12 January. Its trucks 
and towed artillery, with Negro and Chinese drivers, the latter added for 
ceremonial reasons, reached Myitkyina on the 15th, and then had to wait 
there until the 23d because the Japanese still interfered with traffic past 
Namhkam. On the night of the 22d, Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Sultan, India- 
Burma Theater commander, made some rough calculations of space and time, 
and announced that the road was open. Probably he expected the Japanese 
to be gone by the time the convoy reached the combat area. Next morning 
the caravan got under way again. It reached Namhkam without incident, 
and then confusion began. 

The newsmen and public relations officers were surprised to learn on the 
24th that the British Broadcasting Corporation had just announced the ar- 
rival of the first truck convoy at Kunming, China, via Teng-chung, on 20 
January. India-Burma and China Theater authorities had long known that 
a rough trail, capable of improvement, linked Myitkyina and Kunming via 
Teng-chung. There had been considerable discussion of the respective merits 
of the Bhamo and Teng-chung routes, with General Pick firm for the Bhamo 
trace. The Chinese liked the idea of a Teng-chung route, and had advocated 
the Teng-chung cutoff as an alternative to and a supplement of the Bhamo 
route. Their laborers to the number of 20,000 were put to work on the 
stretch beyond Teng-chung, beginning 29 September 1944 and were sup- 
ported by the small force of American engineers under Colonel Seedlock who 
had been assisting in reconstructing the Chinese portion of the Burma Road 
In less than sixty days, 145 miles were cleared. 43 

On 20 January 1945, two trucks and an 11-ton wrecker commanded by 
Lt. Hugh A. Pock of Stillwater, Oklahoma, arrived at Kunming after a six- 
teen-day trip from Myitkyina. At one point, at a precipitous pass, the back 
wheels of the lead truck had slid out over empty space; the vehicle had to 
be winched back. At another point Lieutenant Pock had to halt his little 
convoy while one of Seedlock's bulldozers cleared a path. But this was 
minor compared to the fact that a truck convoy had reached China. 44 No 
more than sixty-five vehicles crossed into China via Teng-chung, for the 
route was a rough one, and not paralleled by a pipeline as was the route via 

43 (1) Ltr, Col Seedlock to Romanus, 21 Dec 50. OCMH. (2) Rpt, Board of Officers re 
Pipelines and Burma Road, Including Teng-chung Cutoff 31 Oct 45. CT 41, Dr 1, KCRC. 

44 History of IBT, I, 188. 



BREAKING THE BLOCKADE OF CHINA 



141 



Bhamo. The impact of the news was immediate. As a result of some of 
the announcements that followed, General Merrill radioed Sultan: 

A Reuter's report has been published and broadcast to the effect that convoys from 
India have been reported by Chinese sources to have crossed overland from India to China 
via Teng-chung. The Supreme Allied Commander is quoted as radioing Churchill and 
Roosevelt: "In accordance with orders you gave me at Quebec, the road to China is 
opened." 

Wheeler's PRO [Public Relations Officer] has sent to Washington a blurb saying 
that the "plan drawn up by Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler two years ago is now about 
to pay off." 

The Chinese censors have scooped your correspondents, but events in Europe and the 
Pacific are dwarfing the story. I recommend you take no action except to get your convoy 
across the border fast. 4 '' 

On the morning of the 28th, the official inaugural convoy from India- 
Burma Theater resumed the often-interrupted journey. There was a two- 
hour ceremony at Mu-se, and then, a few miles beyond, a road junction with 
a macadam road. As the trucks swung out onto it realization flashed down 
the line that they were at last on the Burma Road and in China. Two days 
later, as the convoy crossed the Sal ween, an air raid alarm brought a flurry 
of excitement. Then came the long drive through Yunnan Province to 
Kunming, through dry, hilly, brown land, a contrast to the green and blue 
of the Burmese hills. The night of 3 February the convoy bivouacked at 
the lake Tien Chih, and next morning Chinese drivers took over for the 
ceremonial entry. 

On 4 February the line of 6 x 6 trucks and jeeps, some of the prime 
movers towing 105-mm. and 75-mm. howitzers, entered Kunming. General 
Pick led the parade, standing erect in his jeep. Firecrackers crackled and chil- 
dren screamed; American missionary nuns waved greetings, and Chinese 
bands added their din. That night Governor Lung Yun of Yunnan gave a 
banquet which was graced by the presence of an American operatic star, 
Lily Pons, and her husband, a widely known conductor, Andre Kostelanetz. 
The occasion had its ironic side, unknown to the Americans as they rejoiced 
in the completion of the engineering feat; for, if General Okamura's memory 
is to be trusted, Lung Yun corresponded with him throughout the war. 46 

Shortly after the road was opened, the Generalissimo suggested that it be 
renamed the Stilwell Road. The idea received general approval, and so the 
man who was primarily a tactician and troop trainer, whose mission and 
greatest interest was the reshaping of the Chinese Army into an efficient 
force, had his name applied to one of the great engineering feats of history, 
and was indelibly associated with it in the public mind. The soldiers called 
it either the Ledo Road or "Pick's Pike." 4 " 

« History of IBT, I, 189. 

4fi (1) History of IBT, I, 191-92. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments, Okamura, p. 6. OCMH. 
47 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 393. 



CHAPTER V 

The Crest of the Flood in China 



In December 1944 Wedemeyer faced a grave test of his ability as a 
commander and staff officer. While he was still shaping his new command, 
the Japanese 11th Army sent two of its divisions to the border of Kweichow 
Province. If they drew closer to Kunming 

there would be an obvious menace to the principal U.S. base in China. 
Wedemeyer would then have to carry out two major tasks simultaneously: 
recommend and obtain Chinese approval of actions that could stop the 
Japanese; and continue with the setting up of his command and the Chinese 
participation in Alpha. 

Wedemeyer Asks Help From SEA C 

The original orders of the Japanese command in China had directed the 
11th Army to halt at the border of Kweichow Province. Taking the bit in 
its teeth, 11th Army raced across the boundary, with the later approval of 
higher authority. However, it thought of pursuit, not Kunming. 1 Its 13th 
Division took the town of Tushan, finding there considerable quantities of 
arms, and defeated some fresh Chinese troops, whose presence on the scene 
was among the first results of Alpha. Local Chinese command problems 
had been greatly complicated by a tragic error of the Fourteenth Air Force, 
which bombed Chang Fa-kwei's headquarters on 27 November, destroying 
most of his transport and signal equipment. 

The road up which the Japanese were moving forked not far above 
Tushan, one leg of the Y leading to Kunming on the west, the other, to 
Chungking. This was the strategic Kweiyang area. Americans were sent 
there to advise and assist the Chinese on technical and operational problems: 
Col. Frederic W. Boye, who assisted General Tang En-po throughout the 
rest of the war; Colonel Bowman, who in addition to aiding Chang Fa-kwei 
sent out OSS demolition teams led by Cols. Dan Mallon and Alexander H. 



1 (1) Japanese Study 130, pp. 26, 30. (2) Japanese Officers' Comments on draft MS. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



143 



Cummings and Lt. Col. H. V. Ennor. That colonels should lead demolition 
teams on hazardous missions suggests the improvisations resorted to under 
the Japanese pressure. Bridges had to be blown and roads trenched to slow 
the Japanese, and officers of colonel's rank could successfully negotiate the 
details with the responsible Chinese officers. 2 

Not even the most optimistic Chinese could for the moment interpret 
this Japanese move as a thrust confined to the American air bases in China, 
and no one on the Allied side could feel really sure where the 1 1th Army 
would halt, though the summer uniforms worn by the Japanese suggested to 
American observers that the Japanese might be outrunning their supply 
lines. It could not have occurred to anyone that the Japanese command 
itself was equally uncertain. Theater headquarters concluded that Chungking 
and Kunming were under direct, immediate threat, and high Chinese per- 
sonages began to interview Wedemeyer about flying out to India. 3 

This Japanese thrust into Kweichow meant that Wedemeyer had to give 
immediate attention to bolstering the defenses of Kunming and Chungking. 
One of his radios of this period to Sultan suggests the nature of his thinking 
about his problems. Wedemeyer observed that where the ordinary military 
commander had but one great unknown, the enemy, he himself had two, the 
enemy and the combat effectiveness of the Chinese forces. He added that 
he was "doing everything possible to create ground forces which are fed, 
trained, equipped, and led properly. This will require several months, and 
during that period these two divisions [from Burma] must be practically my 
chief reliance in holding the Kunming area." 4 

On 30 November Wedemeyer told the Joint Chiefs and Admiral Mount- 
batten that the Generalissimo had decided the Chinese 22d and 38th 
Divisions must be transferred from Burma to China and that he concurred 
in the Generalissimo's conclusion. Wedemeyer stated that if Kunming was 
not held, operations in Burma would become meaningless and the Chinese 
Government might reasonably be expected to collapse. He added that his 
directive required that he "maintain and support the Chinese Government," 5 
and conduct operations to contain and divert the Japanese and support Pacific 
operations. He added further that he knew Admiral Mountbatten believed 

2 (1) Comments on draft MS by Col Cummings, Brig Gen Frederic W. Boye, and Brig Gen 
Harwood C. Bowman. (2) Colonel Mallon was a veterinarian who had gone to Command and 
General Staff School. He was given the G-2 role when Z-FOS personnel took the field after the 
Japanese advance halted their training programs. 

} (1) Japanese Study 130, p. 30. (2) Memo, Marshall for President, 20 Dec 44. Item 20, 
WDCSA 091 China (20 Dec 44). (3) Rad CFB 28167, Wedemeyer to Marshall for JCS, 4 Dec 
44. Item 6, Wedemeyer Data Book. (4) Bowman comments refer to the uniforms and to the 
Tushan arms store. (5) Min, Mtg 6, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 28 Nov 44, Bk 1, Gen- 
eralissimo Minutes, has Wedemeyer's apology for the bombing. 

4 Rad SIG 1442, Wedemeyer to Sultan, info Chennault, McClure, Cheves, Dorn, Tunner, 21 
Dec 44. Item 196, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File. 

5 Wedemeyer's directive does not contain this phrase. 



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withdrawing the two divisions would imperil current Allied operations in 
Burma. Wedemeyer also contemplated that the Y-Force would return some 
of its units to Kunming immediately, and that the rest of the force would 
not proceed much farther into Burma. 6 

In addition to requesting the 22d and 38th Divisions, Wedemeyer also 
wanted India-Burma Theater and SEAC to send two combat cargo groups of 
transport aircraft to China. Since the whole Allied combat operation in 
Burma was based on air supply, here was a proposal that affected anything 
SEAC might hope to do in Burma. These requests, made as they were by 
an American general officer, were thought by India-Burma Theater to have 
implications embarrassing to the American leadership. The United States 
had long been the ardent advocate of a campaign in Burma to aid China, to 
which the British Commonwealth would of necessity contribute the majority 
of the combat troops— even as the United States did in the Pacific. In 
December 1944 the British Commonwealth was moving toward the climax 
of the Burma campaign, with its divisions deep in the jungle, and now 
Wedemeyer was urging, and the Generalissimo demanding, that two Chinese 
divisions and about one half of SEAC's resources in transports be sent from 
Burma to China. 7 

Mountbatten was so strongly opposed to Wedemeyer's requests that he 
appealed to the British Chiefs of Staff. We do not know on what view of 
the situation in China he acted, but it was presumably that of SEAC's 
Director of Intelligence who assured him that there was little likelihood of 
a collapse of the Generalissimo's armies even if the Japanese took Kunming 
or Chungking. Behind this view was the British intelligence system in 
China. So he protested most vigorously to the British Chiefs of Staff the 
proposal to withdraw the two combat cargo groups and only slightly less so 
the recommendation that the 22d and 38th Divisions return to China. 8 De- 
priving SEAC of the two combat cargo groups would, he thought, force the 
Fourteenth Army to halt, and might even require it to return across the 
Chindwin River, for its supply situation would be jeopardized. Returning 
the 22d and 38th Divisions to China would be "disastrous," for it would 
imperil the campaign in north Burma and delay the opening of the road to 
China. Morever, because time was required to concentrate the two divi- 
sions, fly them to China, and redeploy them within China, Mountbatten feared 
they would be lost to both Burma and China at a critical period. Though 

6 (1) Rad CFB 27686, Wedemeyer to Marshall for JCS, info Mountbatten, 30 Nov 44. OCMH. 
(2) History of IBT, I, 121. 

7 Ibid., pp. 123-24. 

8 (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 330. (2) For a description of the British intelligence 
system in China, see History of China Theater, Chapter III. (3) Item 20, Wedemeyer Data Book. 
(4) In SEAC headquarters, the Japanese drive was sometimes called, sardonically, "the Wedemeyer 
Offensive." Ltr, Gen Creasy to Gen Smith, 16 Jun 54. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



145 



he did not want to see the transports moved from service in Burma, Mount- 
batten was willing to release forty-eight B-24's of the U.S. 7th Heavy 
Bombardment Group for transport service in China. 9 The steady progress 
of the Burma campaign was reducing the number of targets suitable for 
strategic bombardment and there was precedent in the theater for using 
B-24's in a transport role. 

Wedemeyer's recommendation, the Generalissimo's demand, and Mount- 
batten's reluctance raised a major problem of inter- Allied and intertheater 
relations which had to be solved to permit bringing to China the two battle- 
tested and reliable divisions on which Wedemeyer's plans placed such 
emphasis. 

Reaching a Decision 

In apportioning resources between India, Southeast Asia, and China, bids 
for a change in the existing allocation made by a local theater commander 
might fall into either of two categories. Procedures were at hand to deal 
with each. 

(1) If Wedemeyer desired the transfer of resources not under the opera- 
tional control of SEAC, his requests were to go to Sultan who would relay 
them to the War Department. If Sultan concurred, the transfer followed. 
If Sultan objected, then the Joint Chiefs were called on to decide. 

(2) If Wedemeyer wanted resources that were under SEAC's operational 
control, as in the present case, then Sultan was to relay his requests to 
Mountbatten. If Mountbatten approved, transfer was automatic. But if, as 
in this case, there was dissent, then Sultan was to present the case to the 
Joint Chiefs from his point of view, and Mountbatten, to the British Chiefs 
of Staff from his. The two staffs would then meet as the Combined Chiefs 
to render their decision. 

Mountbatten had recommended against acceptance of Wedemeyer's 
request for the resources, and so, too, did Sultan, though the latter somewhat 
qualified his objections. Sultan believed that moving the 2 2d and 38th Divi- 
sions would "nullify" efforts to open the Burma Road, but he added that if 
Wedemeyer believed that Kunming was definitely threatened, then he would 
agree that the divisions should return to China. As of 30 November Wede- 
meyer did believe that Kunming was in danger, and said the divisions would 
be needed within a month to forestall disaster. Since Wedemeyer had met 
Sultan's point, there was now a clear-cut division between the British and 
the Americans in Asia and so the matter was one for decision by the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff. 

The Joint Chiefs took the position that they could not question the 



9 History of IBT, I, 126. 



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Generalissimo's right to use his own Chinese forces on China's behalf, but 
having regard to the state of operations in Burma, where the 2 2d and 38th 
Divisions were in actual contact with the enemy, they recommended that 
these latter two go only if the other three divisions of the Chinese Army in 
India, which were not in combat, could not be used. The Joint Chiefs sug- 
gested the principle that the Generalissimo's requests should be met with the 
least possible damage to operations in Burma. As for the transfer of the 
American combat cargo groups from Burma to China, the Joint Chiefs 
believed China Theater should be able to call up any transport aircraft, the 
Air Transport Command included, that would be needed to move two divi- 
sions to China and support them once they were there. But the JCS added 
the significant modification that such demands should be limited to aircraft 
that were not engaged in supplying Allied forces in combat. 

Initially, both Prime Minister Churchill and the British Chiefs of Staff 
agreed with Mountbatten that it would not be desirable to move the 22d 
and 38th from Burma to China. This support would have postponed the 
transfer of the divisions for several weeks and perhaps indefinitely while the 
CCS considered the question. Then Admiral Mountbatten reversed himself 
and on 3 December 1944 agreed that two Chinese divisions could be released. 
Reflection and survey had shown that the Japanese in Burma were so badly 
weakened that the transfer could safely be made. 10 

The question of transferring transport aircraft from Burma to China was a 
more vital one to SEAC because its ability to operate in Burma was directly 
related to air supply. Mountbatten took exception to the unilateral char- 
acter of the JCS's pronouncement that China Theater might call on any 
U.S. transport aircraft in India-Burma Theater that were needed to move 
and support the two Chinese divisions. Such a step appeared to compromise 
Allied unity in Burma. He reminded the Joint Chiefs that the campaign in 
Burma had been undertaken on the basis of resources pledged to SEAC by 
the United States to help carry out a directive in whose drafting the United 
States had shared. 

However, the Combined Chiefs of Staff took a broader view, and 
regarded the emergency nature of the need as the standard of judgment. In 
the spring of 1944 they had acquiesced in Mountbatten's diverting transports 
from the Hump to meet the situation created by the Japanese attack on India. 

Now that the American Chiefs of Staff believed there was an emergency in 
China, the Combined Chiefs were willing to divert resources from SEAC on 
an emergency basis. Therefore the Combined Chiefs agreed that some trans- 
port aircraft could go to China on loan, rather than on permanent assign- 
ment. They were to be returned to Burma by 1 March 1945. On the larger 

10 Ibid., pp. 127-30. 



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147 



issue, of transferring U.S. resources from India and Burma to China, the 
Combined Chiefs agreed that the American Chiefs of Staff could transfer any 
U. S. resources without awaiting CCS action, if the American Chiefs believed 
an emergency existed in China. At the time the British Chiefs were quite 
explicit in concurring only on an emergency basis and until they could review 
the whole matter. 11 

Moving Reinforcements to China 

With agreement on moving two divisions, plus transport aircraft for 
intratheater troop movements, to China, the question became one of choos- 
ing the units to go, after which the logistical problem of flying men, mules, 
and artillery to China would have to be solved. When in late November it 
first became likely that NCAC would have to send two of its Chinese divi- 
sions back to China, the NCAC and IBT commander, General Sultan, had 
asked Wedemeyer and the Generalissimo if it would be possible to substitute 
the 14th and 50th Divisions, neither of which was in contact with the Jap- 
anese, for the 22d and 38th, which were engaged, the latter heavily so at Bhamo. 
The China Theater authorities considered that the veteran 2 2d and 38th were 
elite units, and did not want to forego the services of both. In the light of 
this, Sultan suggested a compromise, the 14th Division and either the 22d 
or the 38th. When China Theater accepted, the selection of the 22d became 
automatic, since it was not so deeply involved in operations as was the 38th. 

With regard to selection of transport aircraft, after discussion between 
India-Burma and China Theaters reduced the number to be lent to China 
from six squadrons to three, General Wedemeyer stated that two of the three 
would be used to move some of the Y-Force to the Kunming area and the 
third, to support the Fourteenth Air Force. To replace these transports, 
Mountbatten curtailed paratroop training activities. 12 

The actual movement of the divisions to China in time for them to be of 
use in defending Kunming presented some difficult problems. It was nec- 
essary to find the aircraft to fly them over the Hump, and to make arrange- 
ments to redeploy them once they had arrived in China. Moving the divi- 
sions over the Hump might result in a heavy cost to Hump tonnage flown 
to China. And, such was the lack of transport facilities within China, mov- 
ing the troops off the airfields once they arrived was a complicated problem 
involving the most careful scheduling of truck and aircraft movements 
within China. 

In the beginning China Theater held most strongly to the view that Hump 
deliveries should not suffer because of these troop movements, for Hump 
tonnage was just as vital as were the troops in stopping the Japanese. 
SEAC, on the other hand, maintained that the Hump operation should be 

11 Ibid. 

12 History of IBT, I, 130-34. 



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drawn on first because SEAC's remaining aircraft resources were all engaged 
in supporting the offensive into Burma. As so often in Allied operations 
attempts were made to compromise and many organizations were drawn on 
for transport aircraft. For example, NCAC cut its airdrop requirements to 
thirty C-47 sorties a day. The Fourteenth Air Force from its meager 
resources was able to carry 5 percent of the total. Eastern Air Command 
gave two squadrons, which were engaged in the lift throughout its opera- 
tion. These expedients unfortunately were not enough to eliminate calls 
on the ATC, which ultimately carried 40 percent of the load, at the cost of 
a slight reduction in Hump tonnage. 13 

There were some difficulties in keeping up an orderly flow of men and 
materiel across the Hump, and on occasion sparks flew as the India-Burma 
and China Theaters sought to co-ordinate their operations. Because the 14th 
Division was in reserve in the Myitkyina and Warazup areas, its concentra- 
tion and emplaning presented a minimum of difficulty. On 5 December 
the first of the l4th's men and materiel began the flight back to China. The 
initial flow of reinforcements seemed to be progressing smoothly, the 22d 
Division was preparing to return, and then came administrative troubles. On 
one occasion, troops flown over the Hump from Burma to Chanyi field in 
China had to be flown back to Burma because China Theater was not ready 
to receive them. When the time came for the 2 2d Division to move, on 22 
December 1944, India-Burma Theater had units ready to go on twenty-four 
hours' notice, and had sent the leading elements on a correspondingly tight 
time schedule only to receive a radio from China Theater headquarters that 
the move should be postponed. Since operations in Burma had been affected 
in order to meet what China Theater had represented as a grave emergency, 
Sultan reacted strongly to these delays and postponements, placing the matter 
before the Army's Chief of Staff, General Marshall, as well as his colleague, 
Wedemeyer. 14 

Some of Sultan's concern possibly may be traced to the fact that just a 
week earlier he had asked Wedemeyer if the move of the 22d could be delayed 
for a while until NCAC could regroup the 50th Division and begin moving 
the 38th away from the Bhamo area. Wedemeyer had not felt able to agree, 
for as of 16 December he thought that the vital Kweiyang area, gateway to 
both Chungking and Kunming, was still menaced, and that only the Four- 
teenth Air Force and the rough terrain were shielding Kunming. 15 

13 Ibid. pp. 136-7. 

14 Rad CHC 5743, Sultan to Wedemeyer, info Marshall, 25 Dec 44. Item 232, Bks 1 and 2, 
ACW Personal File. 

15 (1) Rad CHC 5532, Sultan to Wedemeyer, 14 Dec 44; Rad, CFB 29155, McClure to Chen- 
nault for Wedemeyer, 14 Dec 44; Rad CSF 4920, Wedemeyer to McClure, 16 Dec 44; Rad CFB 
29422, Wedemeyer to Sultan, 18 Dec 44. Items 180, 181, 186, 188, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal 
File. (2) History of IBT, I, 135. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



149 




Wedemeyer, in a strongly worded telegram, took Sultan to task for plac- 
ing the matter before their common superior, General Marshall. Wedemeyer 
did not comment on the difficulties involved in moving Chinese troops 
within China, which tied up trucks that otherwise would have been avail- 
able to move troops from the airfields, but put his reply on the grounds that 
such matters should be adjusted locally between theaters. Sultan hastened 
to agree, and the matter was closed amicably. 16 

So with Wedemeyer insisting that the 22d Division had to be moved to 
China, even though the actual flights were a problem in intertheater co- 
ordination, the division began its move on 22 December, from an emergency 
airstrip at Nansin completed just one day before. By 5 January 1945 the 
movement was complete. 

16 (1) The problems Wedemeyer found in trying to make the troop movements called for by 
Alpha are discussed below. (2) Rad CFB 29872, Wedemeyer to Sultan, 26 Dec 44; Rad CHC 
5812, Sultan to Wedemeyer, 29 Dec 44. Items 234, 222, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File. 



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Flying the 14th and 22d Divisions back to China was an impressive 
achievement. This was a powerful force, well able to handle the same num- 
ber of Japanese divisions, and better equipped than all but a few of those in 
China. The two comprised: 17 
25,105 Chinese soldiers 

249 American liaison personnel 
1,596 horses and mules 

42 14 -ton trucks 

48 75-mm. howitzers 

48 4.2-inch mortars 

48 37-mm. guns, antitank 
With the flow of well-trained, well-equipped, and well-led Chinese troops 
into China which got under way in early December 1944, and with the Chinese 
38th Division occupying Bhamo on the 15th of that month, the road to China 
would soon be open to bring in trucks and artillery. Because of the limita- 
tions which in August 1944 the War Department had set for the road's 
development, 18 the road would not deliver supplies at the impressive rate the 
Hump was now approaching, but the psychological impact of opening a 
ground line of communications would be present once the road was opened. 
Some at least of the elite troops who had opened the road could go on to 
China for the defense of Kunming. Ultimately, the rest of the five Chinese 
divisions in Burma would follow. If the Japanese overran the Kunming air- 
fields, the Hump operation would be ended. But at the same time the 
Japanese in Burma would be hard put in December 1944 to find troops with 
which again to cut the Burma Road once it had been reopened. 

The balance was beginning to tilt in Wedemeyer's favor, though the out- 
come was uncertain. Wedemeyer, struggling with the complex responsibil- 
ities of China, still had to face the possibility that the Japanese at the last 
moment might break through Kunming's defenses and seize the Hump ter- 
minals. All the results of such a stroke could not be predicted, but they 
would certainly interrupt his process of reinforcement and rebuilding before 
it was fairly under way. So in early December, as Bhamo was about to be 
yielded by the Japanese, China Theater applied itself to reinforce the Chinese 
units that were between the Japanese and Kunming. 

Attempts To Reinforce the Kweiyang Area 

The most immediately important part of Alpha was the redeployment 
of reliable Chinese troops to stiffen the defenses of Kunming and Chungking 



17 History of IBT, I, 134-35. 

18 Stilwell's Command Problems, p. 389. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



151 



against the two Japanese divisions which were in early December moving 
steadily onward toward the vital Kweiyang area. 19 

The American command believed that the defense of the Kunming area 
was absolutely essential, that if the Hump terminals there were lost it would 
probably mean the end of the war in China. Three Chinese armies were 
scheduled by the Alpha plan to move to the Kunming area, the 57th from 
Sian, the 53d from the Sal ween front, and the 5th Army, which had done 
well in 1942 in the First Burma Campaign, from Yunnan. 20 General 
Wedemeyer believed that the Generalissimo had approved Alpha and that 
the Chinese were therefore committed to carry out their part of the plan. 21 

The first hitch in the troop movements called for by Alpha came with 
the Chinese 53d Army on the Salween front, which refused to move. When 
the issue was raised with the Generalissimo by General Wedemeyer, General 
Chien Ta-chun of the National Military Council said that the fault lay with 
the commander of the 53d. It later appeared that the Chinese authorities 
had issued orders on short notice canceling the movement but had not noti- 
fied the Americans, who had kept their trucks and aircraft standing by to no 
avail. 22 

As to the 5th Army, which was to have completed this concentration, the 
Generalissimo announced that he had decided not to move it out of Yunnan, 
that it would defend Kunming the way the 10th Army had defended Heng- 
yang. This was an allusion to the long defense of the walled city of Heng- 
yang by the 10th, which had shut itself up within the city walls in July 1944 
and defended the city until 8 August when it was overwhelmed by the 
Japanese. Wedemeyer's headquarters did not consider a heroic defense of 
Kunming as useful as stopping the Japanese some miles away. 23 

In the light of the difficulties caused by the Chinese decision to cancel 
the movements of the 53d and 5th Armies, General Wedemeyer felt obliged 
to protest to the Generalissimo on 9 December. Consistent with his appre- 
ciation of the Generalissimo's position, his approach was tactful, for he asked 
that all those present, save the Generalissimo, General Chen Cheng, General 
McClure, and the interpreter leave the room before he offered his views to 
China's leader: 

Our memo No. 272 re operation, we think, is absolutely vital if we are to properly 
defend Chungking and Kunming. We have a Chinese copy attached to it. Here it is. 
One month ago we got together. One thing I told you then was, we must not lose the 
Kunming area which is our terminal of supply. It is also my understanding that you 

19 Memo cited n. 3(2). 

20 For Wedemeyer's views on holding Kunming, see Rad CFB 26558, Wedemeyer to Marshall 
for JCS, 17 Nov 44. Wedemeyer Data Book. 

21 Min, Mtg 3, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 21 Nov 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

22 (1) Min, Mtg 14, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 6 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 
(2) History of China Theater, Ch. VI, p. 20. 

23 Min, Mtg 15, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 8 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



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agreed. The second thing we talked about was the defense of Chungking and the 
ALPHA Plan was explained to you in full. The reason why I asked for special privacy 
to talk to you is that I want to talk to you directly and frankly. I hope you will accept 
it in the spirit given. Many decisions have been made, and I was told the Gimo made 
them. The result was the ALPHA Plan was disrupted, precluding orderly disposition of 
forces and supplies. Not knowing about these decisions, it is well nigh impossible as 
chief of staff to the Gimo to coordinate our efforts. I would like to have permission to 
draft directives to commanders in the field . . . have the Gimo and his Minister of War 
read and approve them . . . and then send them out ... so that we can stop interfere 
{sic} with the execution of these directives from Chungking. This is serious. Americans 
like Gens. Chennault, Cheves and Dorn are working hard, trying to help; but constant 
changes of order rendered such help impossible. They appeal through me to get Gimo 
to approve a firm plan and stick to it. Changing of troop movement is easy for your 
staff— e. g., changing the 57A [57th Army] from Chanyi to Peishiyi, but a lot work is 
involved. As regards this change, I am told it is impossible to comply with the changed 
order, because thousands of gallons of gas will have to be moved from Chanyi to Peishiyi. 
The 57A must go to Chanyi. I have been here only a month; I feel we are having coor- 
dination and I hope to be able to help. When I have reports from the field — the airmen 
and the SOS men showing that they do not know what to do, that they do not have any 
firm orders and if there are, they change daily, I feel it is impossible for me as you {sic} 
chief of staff to serve well. I feel badly and concerned about this. Therefore I ask for 
privacy to talk to you. Time is short, and unless firm decision is made so that we don't 
have so many changes, I don't know how to cope with the situation. I do want to serve 
China. 

Chen: It is true that the SOS orders often conflict with Operation orders. 

Wedemeyer: I don't want to interfere. Now the Gimo may want to comment wn the 
memo. These details should be known to the others too. Do you want the others to 
come in? 

Gimo: Alright lets get the others to come in now. [The others re-entered.] I think 
all the troubles are results of bad liaison. 

Chen: In the CEF [Chinese Expeditionary Force; the Chinese armies on the Salween 
front] there are one American officer and one Chinese officer who are made responsible 
to make a decision. If a decision could not be made then the issue would be submitted 
to the Gimo. At any rate, bad liaison does bring about misunderstanding. 

Wedemeyer: Right now it is important to have good liaison. We must do it imme- 
diately. Will appreciate if you do so. 

Chen: In the interim the remedy would be to have the heads of different ministries to 
work directly with the Americans, if they cannot settle a problem, submit it to General 
Wedemeyer who will make a decision and then go to the Gimo for approval. 24 



In the discussion which followed, the Generalissimo remarked that he 
had diverted the troops from Chanyi because he feared that with the troops 
returning from Burma there might be congestion at Chanyi. Wedemeyer 
assured him that he and his American SOS would take care of any conges- 
tion that might develop. The Generalissimo suggested the immediate crea- 
tion of a "combined staff," presumably an integrated Sino- American group, 

24 Min, Mtg 16, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 9 Dec 44. AG 337, Combined Staff Meet- 
ings with the Generalissimo, 1945-1946. Cabinet 2533, Dr 3, CT files, KCRC. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



153 




Chinese- American Staff Conference in China Theater Headquarters, Chungking. 
Around the table (left to right): General Chang Ping-chun, Director of Department, 
Chinese Ministry of Military Operations; General Chu Shih-Ta-chun, personal Chief of 
Staff to the Generalissimo; General Wedemeyer; Brig. Gen. Mervin E. Gross, Acting Chief 
of Staff, United States Forces, China Theater; General Liu Fei, Vice Minister of the 
Chinese Ministry of Military Operations; Col. L. G. Clarke, Assistant Chief of Staff, 
G-l, United States Forces, China Theater; and General Hsu En-sui, Director of the 
Chinese Services of Supply. (Photograph taken in 1943. J 

but Wedemeyer demurred because he currently lacked personnel. So the 
Generalissimo moved to solve the problems of co-ordination by suggesting 
that Chen Cheng, General Liu Fei of the Chinese Board of Military Opera- 
tions, General Yu Ta-Wei of the Chinese Ministry of War, and General 
Chien Ta-chun, director of the Generalissimo's headquarters, join in the staff 
conferences with Wedemeyer and his assistants. Then, said the Generalissimo, 
"Preliminary decision should be made in these meetings and then submit to 
me for approval, and not vice versa." Wedemeyer agreed. 25 
25 Ibid. 



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Then word came to theater headquarters from General Dorn that the 57th 
Army in Hsian, under General Liu, was refusing to move. The American SOS 
in China had trucks standing by all day long waiting for General Liu, as a 
result disrupting its supply schedules for that area. The American liaison 
officer reported to theater headquarters that Liu was in possession of proper 
orders but refused to heed them because he wanted to move his forces to the 
west. Such incidents as those of the 57th and 53d Armies could disrupt the 
whole of the Alpha plan, while the resultant delay was a serious matter. 
Since Wedemeyer as of mid-December was in the field inspecting his theater, 
his chief of staff, General McClure, raised the issue with the Generalissimo 
on 16 December. 

The Generalissimo's reaction was that the commander of the 57th Army 
was not to blame if he had not received his movement orders. Responsi- 
bility fell on General Ho, in Chiang Kai-shek's opinion. His final decision 
was that Ho should investigate while General Liu would be ordered back to 
Chungking to explain. Later that day it appeared that General Liu was 
charging that the U.S. liaison officer had tried to give him orders, to which 
the American reaction was that the liaison officer had simply been trying to 
get the movement under way according to plan. 26 

A few days later General Ho gave his version of what had happened to 
the 57th Army. Orders to move the 57th Army had been received through 
the American liaison officer but General Liu had received so many different 
orders about the 57th Army's movements that he had refused to comply with 
this order. Then General Ho passed to the heart of the matter, the Chinese 
doctrine on command. He explained that a field commander would take 
orders only from his superior officer, not from a liaison or staff officer. 
Therefore, by implication, although these orders had been issued by the 
Generalissimo or the National Military Council they would not be binding 
on General Liu because they had not been transmitted directly. 27 

These delays in troop movements meant that not all of the reinforcements 
called for by Alpha were in place by mid-December. Part of the 57th Army 
was finally flown toward the Kweiyang area. The 94th Army was en route 
by truck and foot from its stations around Chihchiang to reinforce the 
17,000-man 13th Army which was already at Kweiyang. The New Sixth Army 
from Burma was on the way to move into reserve behind Kweiyang; most 
of one division was back in China by mid-December. Falling back toward 
Kweiyang from the south and southeast were the remnants of the 67th and 
64th Armies. These scratch forces, the Fourteenth Air Force, and moun- 

26 (1) Rad CFB 29139, McClure to Dorn, 14 Dec 44; Rad CFB 29244, McClure to Dorn, 16 
Dec 44. Items 175, 177, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. (2) Min, Mtgs 20 and 22, Wedemeyer with 
Generalissimo, 16 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

27 History of China Theater, Ch. VIII, pp. 10-12. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



155 



tainous terrain stood between the Japanese and a great triumph, if the enemy 
was of a mind to attempt the seizure of Kunming and Chungking. 28 

Wedemeyer Reshapes His Organization 

Having initiated troop dispositions to enable China Theater to ride out 
what seemed an approaching storm, Wedemeyer applied himself to setting 
up an organization to carry out his mission of advising and assisting the 
Chinese Government. His first weeks of command had been spent in study- 
ing his situation, and he had necessarily exercised command through the 
machinery he had inherited. Now, by mid-December, his ideas had taken 
form and he was ready to create an administrative machine in harmony with 
them. 

When Wedemeyer arrived in China to take command, he found that the 
headquarters staff he inherited in Chungking was a small one. In March 
1944 the old CBI headquarters had been divided between Chungking and 
New Delhi. The greater part of the staff went to New Delhi, while the 
members who remained in China as the Forward Echelon had duties limited 
to liaison with Chinese agencies, co-ordinating and supervising within China 
the execution of theater directives, and aiding theater headquarters in policy 
preparation and planning for operations in China. 29 This mission resulted 
in a staff so small that the G-l section, for example, had but one member. 
Plainly, such a staff could serve as the nucleus of a theater headquarters, but 
badly needed expansion. 

When in December Wedemeyer reorganized his headquarters he took 
great care to provide continuing attention to advising and assisting the 
Chinese and to his own logistical problems. On 13 December 1944 Wede- 
meyer divided his headquarters into a forward and a rear echelon. At 
Chungking, the wartime capital of China, was the Forward Echelon with the 
assistant chiefs of staff for intelligence, operations, plans, supply, and, in 
January, civil affairs (G-5). The Assistant Chief of Staff, Plans, had two 
subsections in his office, the U.S. Joint Planning Staff and the Theater Plan- 
ning Section. In addition to the general staff sections came those of the spe- 
cial staff, including offices for psychological warfare, air, air-ground aid, plus 
the adjutant general, signal officer, judge advocate general, and the engineer. 

The new Rear Echelon, at Kunming, was headed by General Cheves, SOS 
commander, with the title of theater Deputy Chief of Staff. Cheves was also 
made G-l and assistant to the China Theater G-4. Also present was the 
Hump Allocation Officer, with a staff channel to G-4 at Chungking. Spe- 
cial staff sections included the assistant adjutant general, engineer, and signal 



28 Ibid., pp. 14-15. 

29 See Stilwell's Command Problems, 



Ch. VII. 



156 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



officer, plus the ordnance officer, surgeon, provost marshal, inspector general, 
fiscal officer, and finance officer. Rear Echelon was therefore organized and 
staffed to work closely with the SOS on problems of logistics and adminis- 
tration, with matters arranged so that both types of problems would cross 
Cheves' desk. Moreover, if Japanese pressure should force Wedemeyer to 
evacuate Chungking, there would be administrative machinery in Kunming 
to which he could join the Forward Echelon at short notice. An evacuation 
plan was drawn up in November and December, and was ready if the Jap- 
anese moved into west China. 

General Cheves had a key role in the new organization, that of co- 
ordinating logistics and administration. One of his duties was to preside 
over the mechanism of Hump tonnage allocation. In explaining the new 
arrangements to Cheves, Wedemeyer pointed out to him that he had to know 
both the Chinese and American deployments, since Cheves would be called 
on to equip the U.S. -sponsored Chinese divisions. In this connection the 
fact was brought out that 70 percent of the needed equipment was in China, 
10 percent in India, and the rest on the way. The Chinese Combat Com- 
mand, to be discussed below, was the headquarters through which Wede- 
meyer planned to supervise and control the operation of the Alpha plan. 

On 20 December, meeting at Kunming with senior officers of the India- 
Burma and China Theaters, Wedemeyer explained the thinking behind his 
arrangements. He intended that the greater part of China Theater's effort 
would be supervision over operations and supply of the Alpha divisions. 
This supervision he broke down into three phases: (1) combat, in which the 
Americans would come very close to having operational control; (2) train- 
ing, which they would completely supervise; (3) supply, where Americans 
would be present at every level. He remarked that it was imperative that 
the Chinese ground forces perform more effectively, that only the Fourteenth 
Air Force was presently between this conference and the Japanese. 30 

Wedemeyer's initial directives to his principal subordinates were issued 
very early in December, after consultation with Chennault (air), Cheves 
(SOS), and Dorn (Chinese ground operations). The theater commander's 
radio books reveal that his approach to these commanders was very similar 
to his approach to his staff; information was widely disseminated, opinions 
were sought, and decisions announced with enough background data to make 
the principal commanders in the field aware of what the theater commander 
was seeking. 

30 (1) Organization charts, Item 2, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) Conf, Wedemeyer and 
Cheves, 17 Dec 44, Kunming, China. OCMH. ( 3 ) Min, IBT and CT Conf, 20 Dec 44, Kunming, 
China. OCMH. (4) The evacuation plan is described in Radiogram CFB 28509, and is also in 
the China Theater files, KCRC. (5) Min, Conf, McClure and subordinate comdrs, USFCT, 3 Jan 
45. OCMH. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



157 



The directive to Chennault, like that of 1942, made defense of the airline 
to China (the Hump) Chennault's first task. Then came, in order, air sup- 
port for the troops protecting the ground line of communications to China; 
air cover for the SOS and air installations; air support for troops defending 
Kunming, including interdiction of Japanese communications; support of 
U.S. operations in the Pacific; air cover for the B-29's; reconnaissance; 
attacks on Japanese communications and supply installations; and prompt 
dissemination of intelligence to adjacent and higher headquarters. On the 
logistical side, Chennault finally received command of the Air Service Com- 
mand, and was made responsible for supply of all technical items for the Air 
Forces. 31 

The SOS had vast responsibilities, for, in addition to its normal duty of 
logistical support to U.S. military activities, it was given "the responsibility 
of insuring an uninterrupted and adequate flow of supplies, equipment, mate- 
riel, and personnel to . . . certain stipulated Chinese Forces in the Chinese 
Theater of Operations." This included lend-lease. Cheves was charged with 
requisitioning lend-lease from India-Burma Theater for initial equipment (in 
accord with the 36-division program) and for replacements. SOS was to 
receive, store, maintain, distribute, and issue these stores. 32 

That the SOS would support certain Chinese forces was a great step for- 
ward for it meant that these troops would be assured a steady flow of food 
and ammunition. Many Chinese military problems, in retrospect, seem to 
have arisen from logistical difficulties, the sheer uncertainty as to whether 
food and ammunition would reach troops in battle or on a long march. Now, 
American logistical techniques were to be applied to supporting a select group 
of Chinese divisions. 

On 17 November 1944 the American officers of the old Y-Force and 
Z-Force became the Chinese Training and Combat Command, the China 
Theater equivalent of a theater ground force, which received an operational 
directive on 2 December. This organization was superseded in January 1945 
by the Chinese Combat Command. The December directive was, however, 
a milestone in Wedemeyer' s evolving a solution to the problem of creating 
an effective Chinese Army. It showed that Wedemeyer now gave a dual 
role to the American officers going out into the field; they were to advise the 
Chinese officers to whose headquarters they were accredited and also to keep 
in close liaison with subordinate and superior U.S. headquarters so that the 
American forces might have a steady flow of information. Unit training was 

31 (1) Chennault's comments on the draft manuscript of this volume underscore his feeling of 
satisfaction at the ending of a situation in which he did not control his direct logistical support. 

(2) Opnl Dir 1 to CG Fourteenth USAF, Hq USFCT, 1 Dec 44. Item 3, Wede meyer Dat a Book. 

(3) Previous directives to Chennault are discussed in Stilwell's Mission to China, |p. 187. 1 
« Opnl Dir 2, Hq USFCT, 1 Dec 44. Item 3, Wedemeyer Data Book. 1 1 



158 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



to be in the areas assigned to the several armies under the Alpha Plan. Two 
service schools would present artillery and general staff training. Three 
training cycles were projected for the troops. Into the first of two months 
was to be crammed all the basic training possible. Phases two and three 
would depend on the tactical situation. 33 

Therefore, in December, Wedemeyer set up machinery that permitted 
him to keep in close touch with the Generalissimo and his government at 
Chungking, provided a U.S. headquarters for administrative work in the rear 
area, gave Chennault his tasks in an order of priority that would permit the 
airman to be increasingly aggressive as the situation improved, gave the SOS 
the task of supporting selected Chinese troops, and provided for closer super- 
vision of the training and operations of the Chinese ground forces designated 
by Chiang to carry out Wedemeyer's plans. 

Moving Toward Better Co-ordination 

Because China Theater was an Allied theater, further complicated by the 
presence of independent agencies, many of them in the field of intelligence, 
machinery alone would not solve problems unless it was harmoniously 
adjusted. So Wedemeyer made further efforts to better co-ordinate the dif- 
ferent Allied agencies in China and his headquarters; the several U.S. com- 
mands and the Generalissimo; Wedemeyer and the Chinese troops in the 
field. Since the question of Hump tonnage entered into most Allied activ- 
ities in China, control of it gave Wedemeyer a powerful lever, which he soon 
began applying to the Allied intelligence agencies. 

In the winter of 1944-45, Wedemeyer's personal data book listed a vari- 
ety of these: the Office of Strategic Services; Navy Group, China (which also 
functioned in another capacity as part of a Sino- American agency for guer- 
rilla warfare under the Generalissimo's chief of secret police); the 5329th Air 
Ground Force Resources Technical Staff, which functioned as the Fourteenth 
Air Force's intelligence net; the Air-Ground Aid Section; and the British in- 
telligence agencies in China. Some of the problems created for Wedemeyer, 
whether as the Generalissimo's U.S. chief of staff or as U.S. theater com- 
mander, by this group of semi-independent or completely independent organ- 
izations, can be suggested by the status of Navy Group, China. Its director, 
Commodore Milton E. Miles, USN, was also deputy director of the Sino- 
American Special Technical Cooperative Organization (SACO) whose direc- 
tor was General Tai Li, chief of the Generalissimo's secret police. Navy 
Group, China, as such, supplied meteorological and ship movement data to 
the U.S. Pacific Fleet. As part of SACO it trained and equipped guerrilla 
fighters and assisted guerrilla operations. Beginning in July 1944 it received 

33 Opnl Dir 3, Hq USFCT, 2 Dec 44. Item 3, Wedemeyer Data Book. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



159 



a fair amount of Hump tonnage, about 175 tons a month, most of it small 
arms ammunition, semiautomatic arms, and high explosives. Created in 1943 
by special agreement between China and the United States on the cabinet 
level and commanded by the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, Navy Group, 
China, was independent of Wedemeyer, but a potential source of embarrass- 
ment to him. 34 

British intelligence activities in China were a cause for concern. Theater 
headquarters believed that the British had several thousand agents in China, 
whose primary mission was gathering intelligence on the Chinese, rather than 
on the enemy. Preparation for the postwar period and protection of the 
British stakes in China, such as Hong Kong, appeared to the Americans to 
be high on the list of British interests. From this intelligence activity the 
Americans received excellent target and shipping data, but little more. 35 

Wedemeyer believed this British activity concerned him both as U.S. 
theater commander and as a chief of staff to the Generalissimo. He feared 
there was a clash of national policy between the United States and the 
British Commonwealth. Thoroughly aware that the United States was try- 
ing to make China a Great Power, he felt that British activity was inimical 
to that purpose, and so warned the Generalissimo on 26 December 1944. 
Two days later he took action, asking the Generalissimo for permission to 
send a questionnaire to the several Allied agencies in China. Precipitating 
this move was a British request for a fairly large allocation of Hump ton- 
nage. Wedemeyer was willing to give it if the Generalissimo so directed, 
but felt that as the Generalissimo's U.S. chief of staff he should know what 
was being attempted by the other Allied powers in China Theater. 36 

Giving weight to this warning, Wedemeyer sent the Chinese two memo- 
randums which claimed that the uncontrolled activities of the various Allied 
military and political agencies in China held inherent dangers to the joint 
efforts of China and the United States, that the military activities of the 
other Allied powers in China might interfere with the military and political 
capabilities of the Chinese forces. Thoroughly alert to the diplomatic impli- 
cations of these steps, Wedemeyer kept in close touch with Ambassador 
Hurley. On 2 January 1945 Hurley was advised by Wedemeyer that the in- 
telligence situation was confused and potentially dangerous, and warned that 
integration and improvement were needed. 

Shortly after, the situation and the measures taken were summed up by 
General McClure: 

Because the Commanding General does not presently know about all groups operating 
in the Theater and having no control over them, the Generalissimo and the American 

34 Incls E, H, Item 17, Wedemeyer Data Book. 

35 Item 20, Wedemeyer Data Book. 

36 Min. Mtg 23, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 26 Dec 44; Mtg 24, 28 Dec 44. Bk 1, 
Generalissimo Minutes. 



160 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




B-29's Head for Rangoon to bomb Japanese installations in support of British 
operations in Burma. 



Embassy are cooperating with the CG by actually tabulating the activities of all United 
Nations' efforts in China. The information will include the number of organizations, 
personnel, missions, locations, and authority for being in the China Theater. It is hoped 
that all American organizations such as OSS, SACO, etc. will be placed under the Ameri- 
can second-in-command [in China Theater?]. It is recognized that there will always be 
some free agents moving about in the Theater, but it is desirable that there be control at 
least to the extent of a check in whereby the CG will know who these people are, what 
they are doing, and under what instructions. 37 

After the war, as he looked back on the intelligence problem, the theater's 
chief of staff, General McClure, doubted that a great deal had been accomp- 
lished toward unification of intelligence agencies. He concluded that there 
had been a greater flow of low-grade information between agencies, but he 
had also seen evidence that separate agencies were purchasing the same 
information from the same sources. 38 

37 Quotation from History of China Theater, Ch. Ill, p. 2, quoting Notes on Theater Conf, 3 
Jan 45, in Wedemeyer Personal Ltr File 2. 

38 McClure comments on draft MS. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



161 



Another semi-independent agency in China, and one that bore heavily on 
theater resources, was the XX Bomber Command with its B-29's. In June 
1944 the JCS had believed that B-29 operations from China would do more 
to help the Allied cause there than would turning over the B-29 stockpile to 
Chennault. So the B-29's flew their missions, under great logistical diffi- 
culties, and dropped 3,623 tons of bombs in Japan, Formosa, and on a few 
targets in China. 

If this helped China, theater headquarters was not aware of it. Weigh- 
ing results against costs, as early as summer 1944 General Arnold, commander 
of the Army Air Forces and a member of the JCS, had considered reducing 
the effort. From time to time, others within the Air Forces had criticized 
the costly B-29 effort from China. 

In late October 1944, on the eve of Wedemeyer's arrival in China, Gen- 
eral Hurley, the President's special representative in China, suggested to 
Roosevelt that the B-29's be withdrawn. Hurley argued that intensive air 
operations would hold southwestern China, that the Fourteenth Air Force 
was sorely handicapped because the B-29 Hump allocations were consuming 
its proper share of Hump tonnage. Believing that B-29 operations could 
not be justified in view of the emergency in China, he suggested moving 
them to Pacific bases. He closed by observing: "If we can hold the situa- 
tion in China until National and Communist troops are united and Chinese 
Armies regrouped, then Chinese troops rather than Americans will be in a 
position to drive the Japs out of the country." The JCS asked Wedemeyer 
for his opinion, adding that they had planned for some time to move the 
B-29's to the Pacific when bases were available. But for the time being 
Wedemeyer was willing to have them stay. 

By 4 December he concluded that the B-29's should go. Their presence 
in China put "prohibitive" limitations on his efforts. They consumed 14 
percent of Hump tonnage in December 1944, and he felt that much greater 
results would be obtained, for example, by devoting that tonnage to equip- 
ping the Chinese forces and supporting the Fourteenth Air Force. On 12 
January 1945 Wedemeyer repeated his recommendation. 39 

On 16 January 1945 China Theater received the JCS decision that the 
B-29's would at once move from bases in China to their home stations in 
India. There they would conduct limited operations before moving to the 
Mariana Islands in the Pacific. Having anticipated such orders, members of 
the XX Bomber Command staff had their plans ready; by 27 January the 

39 (1) Rad CFB 28167, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 4 Dec 44. Item 6, Wedemeyer Data Book. 
(2) History of IBT, II, 146. (3) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The Army Air 
Forces in World War II: V, The Pacific: MATTERHORN to Nagasaki, June 1944 to August 1945 
(Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 150-51. (4) CM-OUT 55263, JCS to 
Wedemeyer, 31 Oct 44. 



162 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



bulk of the command was back in India. From then until the last India- 
based mission on 30 March, the B-29's attacked Japanese-held ports and 
Japanese shipping lanes around the Bay of Bengal, from Rangoon to Singa- 
pore. As training their attacks were invaluable, but save for their bombing 
of the great dry docks at Singapore, they contributed little to the war; 
Japanese shipping by spring 1945 was an expended asset. 40 

On 17 December 1944 the Hump Tonnage Allocation and Control Office 
was established in Rear Echelon, China Theater headquarters. Its purpose 
was . . to effect a proper balance of logistical support between the various 
agencies within this Theater and to facilitate allocations to meet radically 
changed tactical situations or other unpredictable or unforeseen contin- 
gencies." 41 Every month, the new office, soon called HUMPALCO, received 
from the Air Transport Command an estimate of its capacity for each of the 
next four months, and from every agency in China that needed Hump ton- 
nage an estimate of its needs for the next four months. Estimates for the 
immediate future were regarded as firm, and for the following three months 
as planning data. 

Then HUMPALCO's members, who included representatives of the China 
Theater air, service, and ground force commands, and India-Burma Theater, 
prepared a recommended allocation, which in turn went to the Chief of Staff, 
U.S. Forces, China Theater. On Wedemeyer's approving the recommenda- 
tions as reworked or accepted by his own staff, the allocations became firm. 

In the days ahead HUMPALCO was able to work out detailed data on 
Hump support, what tonnage would be needed to equip and support the 
Alpha forces, what was the ceiling on U.S. personnel strength in China, and 
so on. In addition, since every soldier who entered China from abroad was 
a burden on Hump tonnage, small individually but great in the aggregate, 
Wedemeyer's headquarters through HUMPALCO sought to control the 
influx of personnel. 42 

Still pursuing the theme of co-ordination, anxious to be sure that as 
Chiang's U.S. chief of staff he would in the future know what orders were 
going from Chungking to the Chinese armies in the Alpha plan, wanting 
to give General Ho, the Alpha divisions' commander, proper discretion in 
the conduct of operations, and hoping to arrange these matters during his 
forthcoming inspection of China Theater, Wedemeyer in the second week of 
December sought to persuade the Chinese to modify their system of com- 
mand. When on 6 December the Generalissimo commented on some orders 
he had sent to Generals Hsueh Yueh and Chang Fa-kwei, Wedemeyer re- 

40 (1) Item 9, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) The Army Air Forces, V, 158-67. 

41 Cir 8, Hq USFCT, 17 Dec 44. 

42 Ltr, Col Louis W. Haskell, HUMPALCO officer, to Wedemeyer, 11 Oct 45, sub: Hist Rpt 
of the China Hump Tonnage Allocation and Control Off. OCMH. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 163 




General Wedemeyer Visits Western Command Headquarters, Kweiyang, 
China, December 1944. From left, Col. John K. Sells, Commanding Officer, Western Com- 
bat Command; General Dorn; General Huang; General Szhung; General Wedemeyer; 
General Wei Li-huang; Lt. Gen. Yu Ta-wei, Chinese Vice Minister of War. 



marked that the commander in the field, who was now General Ho, should 
make his own troop dispositions. To this theme Wedemeyer returned again 
and again in the days ahead, stressing that Ho should have a broad directive 
within which to operate. Wedemeyer pointed out that the Generalissimo 
was making, in Wedemeyer's phrase, "too many decisions," and that this was 
disrupting the Alpha plan. There should be a firm plan, adhered to by all. 43 
Having prepared the groundwork, Wedemeyer next on 11 December asked 
if he could draft directives of the sort he had in mind. The Generalissimo 
was, it appeared, happy to see such, so next day they were submitted to him. 
With them went the polite request that they be approved by 14 December, 
the day Wedemeyer planned to leave for the field. The Generalissimo on 



43 Set | Ch. III,| above. 



164 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



the 13th promised that the directives as submitted by Wedemeyer would be 
on hand at the airfield, approved, when Wedemeyer departed on the 14th. 44 
The order of 11 December 1944 the Chinese sent to General Ho placed 
him in command of the Alpha forces. His duties would be to protect 
Kunming and Kweiyang, train reserves, safeguard communications, and stop 
enemy raids. He was to keep the enemy off balance so the concentration 
around Kweiyang could be completed. All air forces in the area would be 
under Chennault's command. The American SOS would assist Ho in solving 
his supply problem. Other war areas were to co-operate by attacking enemy 
lines of communications passing through them. 45 Taking the directive with 
him, Wedemeyer left for the area around Kweiyang. 

The Japanese Menace at Its Height 

Overcoming difficulties of terrain and more especially of supply, the 
Japanese 3d and 13th Divisions pressed on into Kweichow Province in three 
columns. The 13th Division was moving up the main road on Tushan while 
the 3d Division moved along mountain trails to reach Pa-chai (Tan-chai), 
about seventy-five miles southeast of Kweiyang. A third column, thought 
by the Chinese to be much smaller, began attacking Li-po, well to the rear of 
these two advancing columns, on 3 December. 

For the defenders, the situation was enormously complicated by the lack 
of reliable information. General Tang En-po, who was in local command, 
had been hastily rushed to that area, and not all the members of his 
staff were with him. Communications had broken in the retreat, and in 
many cases General Tang did not know just where his units were. 46 More- 
over, the condition of the defenders' morale disturbed Wedemeyer's staff; his 
chief of staff, McClure, told the Generalissimo that the troops south of 
Kweiyang were rife with desertion because their food was bad and that 
something had to be done to improve the rations. 47 Wedemeyer had hoped 
that Generals Chang Fa-kwei and Hsueh Yueh would be able to put pressure 
on the tenuous Japanese lines of communications, but on 8 December he was 
obliged to report to the Generalissimo that they were not obeying orders to 
do so. Even worse, the XXIV Group Army had gotten out of hand and was 
looting Chinese villages. 48 

To this picture, alarming to the American command in China, the Gen- 
eralissimo added a reassuring touch. He impressed upon Wedemeyer that 

44 Min, Mtgs, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo: 14, 6 Dec 44; 15, 8 Dec 44; 16, 9 Dec 44; 17, 
11 Dec 44; 19 13 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

45 Ltr O, Generalissimo to Ho, 1 1 Dec 44. AG 300.4 (USFCT) , KCRC. 

46 (1) Japanese Study 130, p. 30. (2) History of China Theater, Ch. VIII, pp. 13, 15. 

47 Min, Mtg 15, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 8 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

48 Ibid. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



165 



the troops who were to defend Kunming and Chungking would do well, for 
they were Nationalist troops, whereas those who had sought to defend the 
east China airfields were provincial troops, and he considered that this ex- 
plained the latter's poor performance in combat. 49 

At this moment, which appeared so pregnant with disaster, the Japanese 
halted. The 11th Army had extended its pursuit beyond the prescribed limits 
and stopped only when its supplies were exhausted. It reported as much to 
the 6th Area Army, which with a nice appreciation of the llth's sensitivities 
designated the present position of the 11th Army as the limit of the pursuit. 
Soon after, the 11th Army was ordered to pull the 3d Division back to the 
area south of Liuchow while the 13th Division was ordered to garrison the 
Kwangsi-Kweichow railway. 50 

When the Japanese withdrawal was discussed between Wedemeyer and 
the Generalissimo on 12 December, the latter correctly analyzed the Japanese 
movement, remarking that the enemy "had insufficient strength and was run- 
ning out of time, anticipating Allied landings on the Asiatic mainland at any 
moment. The advance to Kweiyang was not part of the enemy's plan." 51 

Wedemeyer 's Views on China's Problems 

Wedemeyer was now forming more sharply defined views of China's 
problems, with which he as the Generalissimo's U.S. chief of staff daily had 
to deal. He presented them with candor and impartiality to his Chinese and 
American superiors. To General Marshall he sent on 16 December a long 
letter which Marshall forwarded to President Roosevelt: 

(a) We must retain the Kunming area as our terminal of supply. 

(b) Chungking should receive second priority, for its loss unquestionably would have 
disastrous political, economic, as well as psychological effects. 

(c) The Chinese have no conception of organization, logistics, or modern warfare. 

(d) The Generalissimo is striving to conduct the war from Chungking. The manage- 
ment of affairs of state in itself would require a Disraeli, Churchill, and Machiavelli all 
combined in one. The Gissimo will not decentralize power to subordinates. 

In early conferences with the Generalissimo, I pointed out that we should make dis- 
position of forces and allocation of equipment as early as possible to insure the defense of 
the Kunming area. I presented a plan for this purpose and he approved that plan. This 
was about four weeks ago. Now I find that he is vacillating— in fact, he has ordered 
movements of divisions from the Kunming area without my knowledge. There are in- 
creasing indications that he no longer accepts the premise that Kunming should receive 
first priority. Apparently his advisers in the interim have emphasized the necessity for 
holding Chungking which, as stated above, we agree is necessary, but only after we have 
made appropriate preparations for the defense of Kunming. 

49 Min, Mtg 12, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 4 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

50 Japanese Study 130, p. 31. 

51 Min, Mtg 18, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 12 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



166 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Recently in discussing the defense of Chungking with the Generalissimo, I mentioned 
that we should make plans now for evacuation should the enemy advance continue on the 
capitol and require our withdrawal. The Generalissimo categorically stated that he in- 
tended to remain in the capitol and die here, if necessary. He has stated this on two other 
occasions, General, once in Nanking and again in Hankow, but was prevailed upon by 
his advisors to get out at the last minute. My purpose in making plans is to preclude 
chaos and confusion under the circumstances and to insure that we could set up a seat of 
government in some other appropriate location, preferably Kunming. There are so many 
political implications in everything we do here that this may not materialize. For ex- 
ample, the Governor of Yunnan Province and the Generalissimo are very unfriendly. 
Further, the Generalissimo wants to remain near Szechuan Province .... If he goes 
to the Kunming area, the Governor of Yunnan may kidnap him or at least place him 
under protective custody. Also, he would be cut off from provinces to the north, 
Szechuan, for example. 

In connection with the Americans, I have plans for their evacuation — in fact, I am 
gradually moving officers and men to the Kunming area. I will remain here with the 
Generalissimo as long as possible. . . . 

[Wedemeyer here remarked that if he could obtain Chinese co-operation, 
stop vacillations, and inspire some will to fight on the part of the Chinese, 
all might yet be well. Then he resumed:] 

My approach to the Generalissimo has been friendly, direct, and firm. I believe that 
he likes and respects me now. It is the influence and chicanery of his advisers, who have 
selfish, mercurial motives and who persuade him when I am not present to take action 
which conflicts with agreed plans. . . . 

We have recommended dispositions which, if the Chinese will fight with determina- 
tion and elan, should insure the security of the capitol. Also, we are moving an ample 
supply of munitions centrally located for the troops. We could make a continued 
Japanese advance costly, in fact prohibitive, in time and effort. It is difficult to imagine 
the pressure that is being brought to bear from various facets and high officials to con- 
centrate for the defense of Chungking in lieu of Kunming. In this connection it is 
amusing and also tragic to note that many high-ranking Chinese officials are asking me to 
facilitate their evacuation to America by air. [Two such requests by senior Chinese gen- 
erals are] indicative of the psychological approach of Chinese who should know better. 
Self-sacrifice and patriotism are unknown quantities among the educated and privileged 
classes. 

We have taken steps to improve the diet of Chinese soldiers. The Chinese soldiers 
are starving by the hundreds. . . . 

In connection with troop movements, the Chinese march an outfit from A to B and 
make no provision for bivouacs, food, and so forth along the route. This is being taken 
care of. If only the Chinese will cooperate! American officers have been designated to 
supervise such movements and we are well on the way to exercising constructive influence 
with regard to this very important factor. The Generalissimo often asks me to move by 
air 50,000 men from A to B, and after carefully studying such movement we make appro- 
priate arrangements. Suddenly he will order a change and there are all kinds of ramifica- 
tions involved which render it impossible or at least impracticable to comply with his 
wishes. Neither he nor his advisers really understand supply and movement problems. 
But they ask for the most astounding troop movements to implement their strategy, which 
is really piecemeal, uncoordinated employment of forces. 

The Chinese SOS is terrifyingly inefficient. . . . 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



167 



I have already indicated to the Generalissimo that here in Chungking we must issue 
broad policies and directives to responsible commanders in the field and that we defi- 
nitely must not tell them how to carry them out. If we find that these commanders are 
not complying, then relieve them. I emphasized that it is wrong to direct operations from 
Chungking. Although he has agreed to the soundness of this approach, he violates his 
agreement almost daily, and this adds to our difficulties. I told you that he did not give 
me the best Chinese general for the command of the ALPHA Plan, yet I impressed upon 
him that it was the most important military operation with which any Chinese had ever 
been charged. I receive continual reports of the inefficiency of General Ho. . . . For 
political reasons the Generalissimo does not desire to remove him from a position of re- 
sponsibility in the war effort. 52 

Wedemeyer also reported to the Generalissimo on the state of the Chinese 
armed forces and the reasons for it. On 26 December he met with the Gen- 
eralissimo, U.S. Ambassador Hurley, and T. V. Soong. The occasion on 
which Wedemeyer spoke thus to the Generalissimo was in many ways an 
auspicious one. The Generalissimo, working closely with Ambassador 
Hurley, had effected a considerable reorganization of his government, in 
which Chinese who had impressed some influential Americans as being both 
liberal and efficient had been brought to positions of responsibility. More- 
over, Hurley thought he had made considerable progress in his attempt to 
unify the Communist and Nationalist forces under the over- all leadership of 
the Generalissimo. In these weeks, T. V. Soong on 4 December became 
Premier of China, as well as Foreign Minister, and there was considerable 
optimism as to the immediate future. 53 

It was against this background, and to these high personages— the Gen- 
eralissimo, Soong, and Hurley— that Wedemeyer offered his observations and 
remedies. His comments were significant in their implicit rejection of the 
Chinese claim that lack of arms was responsible for Chinese setbacks at 
Japanese hands. Rather, Wedemeyer stated in so many words, the Chinese 
had neglected their armed forces, and this was why Japan had been able to 
move her forces at will over China. 

Wedemeyer introduced the topic by commenting on the problems raised 
by the return of the 14th and 2 2d Divisions to China. The two divisions 
had become accustomed to being properly fed and to receiving their pay in 
full and on time. If these two divisions, on which Wedemeyer had earlier 
said he placed primary reliance for the defense of Kunming, were to be placed 
on what Wedemeyer thought the usual Chinese standards, the resulting 
morale problem might cause serious concern were the Japanese to resume 
their drive. After contrasting the men of the 22d and 14th Divisions with 



52 The remainder of his letter General Wedemeyer devoted t o military matters, such as per- 
mission to use the B-29's against Hankow. Memo cited |n. 3(2).| 

53 Rpt, Hurley to State Dept, 23 Dec 44. Hurley Papers. 



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those barefooted, poorly clothed, and ill-fed Chinese troops he had seen in 
east China, Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo, Soong, and Hurley: 

. . . We must do something although it would cost the government a great deal of 
money. He [Wedemeyer] has told the Generalissimo several times that the Army must 
be well fed, clothed, and paid in order to fight and be kept in the Army [sic]. Divisions 
which are loyal to the Generalissimo and soldiers who are willing to fight should receive 
priority in such a program. While we have the east wall secure against the Japanese 
attacks, we have to train. We have several hundred divisions now. That is too many. 
If we can train and equip 36-50 divisions well, we can drive the Japanese out. 

Generalissimo said he quite agreed and had talked to General Chen Cheng about this. 

General Wedemeyer said he too had talked to General Chen Cheng who agreed. About 
the size of a division, we feel that 10,000 should be the strength of a division. This is a 
good size to be adopted, at least for the remainder of the war. We don't like the tre- 
mendous number of porters in a division, for example— it was found upon inquiry that an 
Army of 30,000 had but 2,000 rifles to go around. 

Then the issue of pay for the Chinese Army in India arose. Their pay 
in India had been regular, and by constant effort NCAC had seen to it that 
the men were able both to receive and to keep their pay. The Generalis- 
simo's comment was that the returning soldiers should have their pay cut to 
the usual level. This drew a strong reaction from Wedemeyer, who 

. . replied that he didn't mean special treatment but that he thought the 
Chinese Government had neglected the Army. That is why the Japanese 
have had a free hand. He proposed to raise the standard of all other armies. 
Since Generalissimo has reorganized the Government, this is a psychological 
moment to do this and raise morale." 

Taking a constructive approach to the problem, Wedemeyer said that he 
might be able to give each Chinese soldier $1.00 in U.S. currency a month. 
Acceptance of this proposal by the Generalissimo would mean that the 
United States might ultimately become the paymaster of the Nationalist 
forces. The Generalissimo at once offered a major qualification, for he 
insisted that the money should not be given directly to the soldier (for him 
to exchange on the local money market as a sort of hedge against inflation) , 
but that the United States should give the dollars directly to the Central 
Government, which would then given the soldier $100 a month in Chinese 
Nationalist currency. This would in effect set the rate of exchange at 100 
to 1. Since the black market rate was about five times that, and rising daily, 
the whole purpose of Wedemeyer's suggestion, which was to give the soldier 
some pay in stable currency, would be lost, and instead the Central Govern- 
ment would receive a direct monthly subsidy in U.S. dollars. 

Wedemeyer replied that . . he didn't wish to butt in, but the Gen- 
eralissimo said he would like for me to be frank. The Army is neglected 
and the rich do not want to sacrifice. He fully agreed with the Generalissimo 
that there should be no special privilege. The standard I have in Burma, 
should be the standard they have in the entire Chinese Army." 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



169 



The last major issue raised at the conference was a brief comment by 
Wedemeyer, advising the Generalissimo and Soong that Wedemeyer's staff 
was working on Plan Beta, for an offensive against Kweilin, Liuchow, and 
Canton. 54 

Cherry Blossom and Sea Wind 

Meanwhile, in the south of China, the Japanese 23d Army was establish- 
ing contact with the French Indochina Garrison Army. The 23d Independent 
Mixed Brigade took Nanning on 24 November after brushing aside the pro- 
vincial levies who were in the way. Behind at a leisurely pace followed the 
22d Division. It was then transferred from the 23d Army to the 11th Army, 
and the principal strength of the 23d Army began to return to home stations 
in the Canton-Hong Kong area. Taking over the establishment of contact 
to the south, 11th Army opened the road on 10 December. It then began 
preparations to transfer the 3 7th and 22d Divisions to Indochina to bolster that 
area against the feared American amphibious assault. 

Establishment of contact with the French Indochina Garrison Army did not 
mean the establishment of a workable line of communications from Korea to 
Indochina as current Japanese propaganda claimed. Facing the realities of 
transport in China, 6th Area Army concluded that "The improvement in the 
strategic situation by the occupation of the route between Yungning and 
French Indochina served as practically nothing but a temporary route for 
passage of small groups," by means of which the Japanese sent the 22d and 
37th Divisions to Indochina. The transfer made, the link "lost its practical 
significance." 55 

The week's span between 3 December 1944, when the Japanese halted 
their incursion into Kweichow Province, and 10 December, when they linked 
their forces in South China with those in Indochina, is the high-water mark 
of Japanese conquest on the mainland of Asia in the first half of the twentieth 
century. The Japanese had accomplished great martial deeds. They had 
carried their emblem of the Rising Sun from the border of Siberia through 
the great empire and culture of China, the nations and European colonies of 
Southeast Asia, and on to the soil of India. In so doing they had inflicted 
grievous wounds on that Chinese Nationalist regime which had appeared so 
promising in 1937, torn great provinces from the French and British imperial 
domains, driven the United States from the Philippines, and by shattering the 

54 (1) Min, Mtg 23, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 26 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Min- 
utes. (2) See also Meeting 21 of 15 December, at which the Generalissimo said he wanted to 
bring the whole Chinese Army to the standard of the Chinese Army in India. (3) Exchange 
rate from Chart B, Annex E, History of the Procurement Branch, G-5 Section of the General Staff, 
Hq, U.S. Forces, China Theater. OCMH. It was 1,000 to 1 in June 1945, 3,500 in August, 
1,200 in September. 

55 Japanese Study 130, pp. 40, 64. 



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existing order given opportunity and encouragement to revolutionary forces, 
some of them genuinely nationalist but others deeply committed to an im- 
perialism as militant, if more subtle, than the Japanese. 

The Japanese conquest had been a tremendous feat. The empires of 
Genghis Kahn, Tamerlane, and Attila had been succeeded by one as vast as 
any of theirs, ruling over populations as great, but now to prove as ephemeral 
as the cherry blossom. Because the Japanese conquest was in the Oriental 
tradition it was to Western eyes of the twentieth century stained by deeds of 
cruelty. The sack of Nanking in 1938 paralleled the Mongol slaughter at 
Ctesiphon, centuries before. The massacre of prisoners was the fate of those 
who had, in Oriental eyes, by their surrender forfeited claim to consideration. 
Now, in December 1944, the moment of greatest expanse, the Japanese con- 
quests were in their gravest peril. 

In the Pacific, the American forces had everywhere burst through the 
island barrier that was to have defended Japan from attack on and over the 
seas. Those islands were bits of land on which the great figures of Oriental 
history had never gazed but their possession in the end meant more to Japan's 
destiny than did that of the great cities of China. On 24 November 1944, 
111 B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo from bases in the Marianas, the first of 
many similar raids. About a month later, the Japanese line on Leyte Island 
in the Philippines was broken and the Americans' hold on that island was 
secure. The SHO Operation, the Japanese attempt at a decisive counter- 
attack, was a failure, while the Americans had bases from which they could 
attack Japan itself. In Burma, British forces in strength crossed the Chin- 
dwin River in early December. This was the major thrust into central Burma, 
and its goal was Mandalay. The time had come for the Japanese to shape a 
new strategy and both Imperial General Headquarters and Okamura's head- 
quarters undertook the necessary studies. Drafting new plans would take 
time. Meanwhile China Expeditionary Army began to prepare operations of 
very direct interest to the Fourteenth Air Force. 

The Fourteenth Air Force Versus the Japanese 

In the Suichuan area of east China, about 130 miles east-southeast of 
Heng-yang, the Fourteenth Air Force had an airfield from which it had 
staged operations toward the east in 1943. In line south of Suichuan were 
two other fields, Kanchow (Kan-hsien) and Namyung (Nan-hsiung). After 
the loss of his major fields in east China, Chennault moved a task force to 
these fields, which lay well to the east of the Japanese corridor through east 
China and so were supplied by transports flying across the Japanese lines. 56 

56 Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 326. 



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171 



To the west of the Japanese corridor was Chihchiang, about 185 miles from 
Heng-yang, and this too became a base. 

In their planning for ICHIGO, the Japanese had appreciated Suichuan's 
importance and assigned it as an operational goal, to be taken after Kweilin 
and Liuchow. Another mission to be completed about then was the clearing 
of the southern end of the Hankow-Canton railway— it will be remembered 
that the Japanese drive on the east China air bases had swung west in a great 
arc past this segment of rail line. This planning had been completed between 
January and March 1944, and much had happened since then. The American 
advance westward across the Pacific made it appear that landings on the China 
coast were an imminent probability. The solution to the problem set by 
these three factors, of which clearing the rail line seemed the most important 
to the Japanese, was issued as an order in early December. 57 

The plan called for the 40th and 21th Divisions to move south from the 
Heng-yang area, target date mid-January 1945. The 40th Division was to 
proceed down the railroad. Because the rail line was to be captured intact, 
the Japanese began training special raiding parties to race ahead and seize the 
bridges and tunnels before the Chinese could destroy them. The 21th Division 
was ordered to swing wide from Heng-yang to the Suichuan area, and overrun 
the airfields. The 23d Army at Canton was to send two columns north which 
would meet the 40th and 21th Divisions coming south. On the successful 
completion of the operation, the 40th and 21th would proceed to Canton to 
join the garrison there. 58 

Chennault appreciated Japanese capabilities and had no illusions that the 
enemy would leave him alone in Suichuan. The Chinese troops around 
Suichuan were those of General Hsueh Yueh, who had sacrificed his Tenth 
Army to hold Heng-yang, and Chennault did his best to obtain arms for 
Hsueh, as has been noted above. Hsueh was not in the good graces of the 
Generalissimo, and these requests were all turned down, the Generalissimo 
saying that Hsueh's pleas should be "disregarded." 59 

In the meantime, there was work to be done, and Chennault bent himself 
to it. After the war he looked back on the achievements of the Fourteenth 
Air Force in December 1944 and called then "phenomenal." Several factors 
contributed to the Fourteenth's ability to surmount the loss of its old fields. 
Its supply situation was much easier. In the last quarter of 1944, the Four- 
teenth received a monthly average of 9,274 tons of gasoline and lubricants as 
against a monthly average of 5,987 tons the quarter before. That much of 

57 ( 1 ) Imperial General Headquarters (Army) Order Regarding Execution of Operation No. 1 , 
24 Jan 44, App. 1; Plan for Operation No. 1, 10 Mar 44, App. 3. Japanese Study 129. (2) 
Japanese Study 130, p. 43. (3) Japanese Study 129, pp. 65-66. 

58 Japanese Study 130, pp. 43-44. 

59 Min, Mtg 16, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 9 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



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Fourteenth Air Force B-24 heads for home after bombing Japanese supply dumps 
at Hengyang, China. 



this was flown to Suichuan instead of Kweilin did not eliminate the effect of 
the increase. The Fourteenth had more aircraft, and better. Chennault him- 
self in retrospect gave first importance to having a theater commander whom 
he believed to be sympathetic to him, and second to his no longer having to 
give close support to the Chinese, which meant he was free to attack prizes 
greater than well-dispersed and cleverly camouflaged Japanese infantry. 60 

The Fourteenth Air Force was organized into two composite wings of the 
Army Air Forces, one Chinese- American Composite Wing, a fighter wing, 
and one group of heavy bombers. The 69th Composite Wing in west China 
had four fighter squadrons and three medium bomber squadrons; in east 
China the 68th Composite Wing had three fighter squadrons with bombers 
attached when necessary. Covering the Yangtze River, the Chinese- Amer- 
ican Composite Wing, which offered the hope of expansion into a future 
Chinese Air Force, comprised eight fighter squadrons and four squadrons of 

60 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 329-31. (2) Fourteenth AF Annual Summary, 1944. 
OCMH. 



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173 



mediums. The 312th Fighter Wing had five squadrons for the defense of 
Cheng-tu. In terms of aircraft assigned, the average monthly strength in the 
last quarters of 1944 was 501 fighters, 106 medium bombers, and 46 heavy 
bombers. These were supported by 30 transport aircraft and 31 photo 
reconnaissance aircraft. 61 

The opposing Japanese 5th Air Army was a much smaller and weaker 
force, whose principal combat elements as of mid-November had 56 fighters 
and 38 medium bombers and a grand total of 152 aircraft of all types. The 
Japanese in China were fully aware of the cumulative effect of their long series 
of defeats in the air. They sadly lacked experienced pilots, while there was 
such a shortage of aircraft that even two old biplane fighters were pressed 
into service. Capture of the Fourteenth's fields had not eased the problems 
of the Japanese, for their radar was inadequate, the bases were open to sur- 
prise attacks, and the poorly functioning Japanese lines of communications 
made it hard to obtain spare parts and fuel. However, the Japanese decided 
they would occupy Heng-yang and attempt operations from there. 62 

The Japanese attempt to base squadrons at a forward airfield that lacked 
radar warning, in the presence of an aggressive opponent, was a venture as 
costly as had been similar Allied efforts in 1942. On Armistice Day of 1944 
the Fourteenth Air Force sent fighters against Heng-yang; the Japanese suc- 
cessfully intercepted. The Americans had a slight edge in the fighting which 
followed, and then both sides separated to refuel. While the Japanese serv- 
ice crews worked over their fighters, Chennaults' real effort of the day ap- 
peared—the Chinese-American Composite Wing, coming in at low level. 
The Japanese were strafed and bombed heavily. The Fourteenth viewed its 
attack as a complete success; the Japanese admit that they had to withdraw 
the air regiments they had attempted to base at Heng-yang. Thereafter, the 
Japanese operated only army co-operation aircraft out of Heng-yang, camou- 
flaging them with care, and taking full advantage of low visibility and bad 
weather. 63 

Since the Fourteenth's supply situation permitted it to average only eight 
fighter and four medium bomber sorties per aircraft a month, there was a 
lapse of a few weeks, and then the Fourteenth marked the anniversary of the 
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 with operations against Hong Kong 
and Nanking. Fifteen fighters were sent against Hong Kong, and a similar 
force against Nanking. When the fighters returned from Hong Kong they 
reported sinking a 10,000- ton liner and a destroyer and damaging four trans- 

61 (1) Organization Chart, Fourteenth AF, 1 Jan 45. Item 8, Wedemeyer Data Book. (2) 
Fourteenth AF Annual Summary, 1944, p. 8. OCMH. (3) Chennault comments on draft MS. 
"Japanese Study 82, pp. 118-19. 

63 (1) Japanese Study 82, pp. 117-19. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 327. 



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ports but postwar examination of the Japanese records does not support the 
claim. 04 

Ten days later the Cheng-tu-based B-29's were directed against Hankow, 
Okamura's headquarters and the supply base for Japanese activities in central 
and south China. When in June 1944 Stilwell had sought permission from 
the Joint Chiefs to use the B-29's against Hankow it had been refused on 
the ground that the B-29's could help more in China by attacking Japan's in- 
dustry than they could by bombing Hankow. Now the Joint Chiefs were 
willing to let them be used against major targets in China. 60 

Hankow seemed a most profitable target. It was a center of industry for 
the Japanese, who had long stressed local procurement, e. g., "coal, alcohol, 
weapons, and clothing." The prosaic fighter sweeps over the Japanese rail 
system in north and central China and the attacks on Japanese river shipping 
in central China, which when lucky could produce a spectacular blaze as ship 
and cargo exploded, had caused a massive congestion of Japanese transport 
facilities in the Hankow area. Over 100,000 tons of supplies were stalled at 
various way points. The Japanese had pinned high hopes on rebuilding the 
Peiping-Hankow railway, and had it almost ready for traffic by late Novem- 
ber. Then Chennault's airmen damaged some of the key bridges and ended 
for the time hopes of using that rail line to replace the Yangtze River as a 
line of communications. So all this complex of stockpiles, factories, and 
warehouses in the Hankow area was sprawled out below the American 
bombsights. 66 

The effort made by the Fourteenth Air Force and XX Bomber Command 
against Hankow was in proportion to its importance. Seventy-seven B-29's 
and 200 of the Fourteenth's fighters and bombers were sent against Hankow 
in the course of 18 December 1944. When the day's action was over there 
was a thick pall of smoke over the three Wuhan cities loosely known as 
Hankow. There were follow-up raids over Hankow for the rest of the 
month, though not on the scale of that effort. It was a dramatic operation, 
which ten years later the Japanese rated as "highly effective." They did not 
attempt retaliation. 67 Their attempts to give air cover to Hankow and to 
their new airfields had sharply reduced their aircraft strength. What was 
left was deployed to the coast to counter the feared American landing. 

The next phase in the Fourteenth's operations was a major effort against 
the rail lines that the Japanese were using. In early January 1945 the Jap- 

64 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 328. (2) Opnl Summary, Fourteenth AF. Item 8, 
Wedemeyer Data Book. (3) Mil Hist Sec, Special Staff, GHQ FECOM, The Imperial Japanese 
Navy in World War II, 1952 (Japane se Study 1 16). OCMH. 

63 See Stilwell 's Command Problems ^ p. 369 . | 

66 Japanese Study 130, pp. 40-4 1. 

67 (1) Japanese Comments on draft MS. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 329-30. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



175 



anese succeeded in opening the Peiping-Hankow railway to through traffic. 
South of Hankow, on the line to Changsha, there were still gaps in the line 
where key bridges were down, but by unloading at some breaks and ferrying 
trains across others the Japanese found it possible to conduct a certain 
amount of traffic. Though the rail line was open, its performance was a dis- 
appointment because the Fourteenth Air Force destroyed so many locomo- 
tives. The cumulative effect was serious. The Japanese had planned to 
deliver 45,000 tons to Hankow by rail in January. They were only able to 
deliver 12,000, and had to supplement this figure by bringing 8,000 tons up 
the Yangtze. 

In February the picture brightened. Twenty-five thousand tons were 
carried down from Peiping, and 8,000 again came up the Yangtze. But the 
rolling stock situation was serious. Chennault's new P-51's, with their great 
range, were all over north China, hitherto the citadel of Japanese power in 
China, and losses of locomotives were "very heavy." The Japanese had 
planned to move rolling stock from north China into central and south 
China. Now, they found that they could move only about 10 percent of the 
amount they had wanted to bring down, while the Fourteenth Air Force 
made the Yangtze almost useless. Given the cumulative effect of the Four- 
teenth's raids, the headquarters responsible for operations in central and south 
China, 6th Area Army, could see the day was fast approaching when the Jap- 
anese would be unable to use their railroads south of the Yangtze. 

The supply situation with regard to food, ammunition, and clothing was 
satisfactory. One of the fruits of 1CHIG0 had been the capture of more 
than 10,000 tons of munitions from the Chinese. Added to local procure- 
ment and what trickled down the line of communications from Hankow, this 
gave the Japanese enough to eat, wear, and shoot. There was, however, a 
significant shortage of motor gasoline and motor alcohol. Casting up their 
accounts, balancing their consumption against their resources plus their ex- 
pected receipts, the staff of 6th Area Army expected that 1 June 1945 would 
see the end of their gasoline stocks, and not until November did they expect 
to have alcohol in sufficient quantities. 68 

Therefore the grave shortage of motor fuel and the anticipated collapse of 
rail transport south of the Yangtze, the latter directly attributable to Four- 
teenth Air Force operations, caused the Japanese staff most directly concerned, 
that of 6th Area Army, in late January 1945 to believe that the day was com- 
ing when the Japanese would have to loosen their grip on China south of 
the Yangtze. These conclusions were not shared by China Expeditionary 
Army, which under Okamura's guidance was meditating a spectacular drive 



(1) Japanese Study 130, pp. 35, 61-63. (2) Japanese Comments on draft MS. 



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on Chungking, 69 nor were they known to the American theater headquar- 
ters, which considered that the Japanese possessed "complete freedom of 
action." 70 Such conclusions by the Americans possibly reflected the vigor- 
ous operations that were being carried out by the troops of 6th Area Army 
even as the Japanese staff was making its studies. As the estimate that the 
Japanese had complete operational freedom was being dispatched to Wash- 
ington, the Japanese were on their way to occupy the Suichuan fields from 
which Chennault had in effect set a time limit to their further stay in south 
China. 

The Suichuan Operation 

Though there was a brief lull in operations following the Japanese with- 
drawal from before Kweiyang, beginning 5 December 1944, Wedemeyer was 
not complacent. His current appraisals correctly estimated that the Japanese 
were thinking of strengthening themselves against an American landing, but 
as he read the reports on the strength the Japanese had available he was at a 
loss to account for the pause in what had seemed a threat to Kunming. 
There was an explanation currently circulating, and on 10 January 1945 
Wedemeyer called it to the Generalissimo's attention: 

The temporary slow-up of the Japanese, General Wedemeyer said, does not mean that 
the danger period is over. There are persistent rumors circulating that through the pup- 
pet Nanking Government [which the Japanese had set up under Wang Ching-wei to at- 
tract dissident war lords to their side] an understanding has been arrived at between the 
Japanese and the Generalissimo, and this understanding accounts for the Japanese slow-up. 
The strong Japanese force concentrated does not explain the slow-up. It is inconceivable 
that the Generalissimo would do such a thing without consulting his Chief of Staff No 
doubt, these are malicious prevarications whose origin may be traced to the enemy. 

To this the Generalissimo was absolutely non-committal. There was no indication, 
emotional or otherwise, that he either denied or admitted it. His spontaneous reaction 
was a dry cackle.' 1 

As noted above, the Japanese were later to deny such reports, but their 
circulation on so high a level suggests some of the tension underlying the 
grave courtesy of Wedemeyer's meetings with Chiang. 

Even as Wedemeyer was hinting to the Generalissimo that sinister con- 
clusions were being drawn from the very recent course of events in east 
China where the local commanders had been left to face the Japanese as best 
they could without arms or reinforcements from the Nationalist Government, 
reports were arriving in theater headquarters that the Japanese were building 
up their strength around Heng-yang. Intelligence reports spoke ominously 
of Japanese troop movements into the Heng-vang area and gave details about 

69 Japanese Study 129, p. 70. 

70 Rad CFB 3 1783, Wedemeyer to Marshall for JCS, 22 Jan 45. Wedemeyer Data Book. 

71 Min, Mtg 27, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 10 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



177 




MAP 9 

troop trains moving south from Peiping to Hankow, probably the 47th Divi- 
sion as it moved into south China from Japan. From these reports theater 
headquarters concluded that the odds favored a Japanese drive to open the 
Canton-Heng-yang stretch of the Canton-Hankow railway and to take the 
Suichuan fields. 72 (Map 9) 

In deploying for the attack to open the railroad and take the airfields, the 
Japanese spread out over a wide front, two divisions and one brigade over 
180 miles. At the extreme right, between Ling-ling and Tao-hsien, the 40th 
Division sent specially trained raiding squads forward about 10 January. 
Their course was at about a 45 -degree angle to the railroad, and as they made 
their way cross country they sought to avoid giving the alarm. Between 19 
and 22 January they reached the railroad and succeeded in occupying the key 
bridges and tunnels before the Chinese could destroy them. In the center of 
the line, one brigade, the 37th, made its way down the railway without inci- 
dent. Only on the left of the long, 180-mile line, where the Japanese 27th 
Division was moving on the airfields directly, did the Japanese encounter 
resistance. They had not expected this; their comments suggest they had 
not been impressed by the caliber of Chinese opposition during the east 
China campaign: "Judging from the enemy strength, existing situation and 
former tactics, it was more apparent that he would resist our attacks as a for- 

72 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VIII, pp. 28-29. (2) Japanese Study 129, p. 57. 



178 



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mal gesture while his main body retired into the mountainous area to con- 
serve its strength. It was estimated it would be difficult to make contact." 73 

The Japanese driving on the Suichuan fields moved in two columns. 
One, of probably no more than a regiment in strength, moved southeast 
from Chaling toward the airfields. The rest, "the main body of the 27th 
Division with the attached Iwamoto Detachment" took the principal roads 
which swung first north, then east to the airfields, thus avoiding a hill mass, 
the Wan-yang Shan-mo. Because in mid-January the weather in east China 
becomes unsuitable for air operations, the Fourteenth Air Force was unable 
to give support to General Hsueh Yueh's troops. 

The resistance offered by that commander's troops was somewhat spotty. 
In the neighborhood of Chaling, northwest of Suichuan, it was completely 
successful. The Japanese force there failed to penetrate the Chinese lines 
and had to be moved back to the rest of the 21th Division. The main Jap- 
anese force seems not to have encountered serious resistance, for it covered 
120 miles in ten days to occupy Suichuan on 29 January. 74 

With the Japanese actually on the move, Chennault again pressed Wede- 
meyer to obtain arms for Hsueh Yueh. A subsequent letter of Chennault's 
would indicate that General Hsueh had sought to bypass the Generalissimo, 
and had been rebuffed by Wedemeyer. In compliance with the policy guid- 
ance given him by Wedemeyer, Chennault warned Hsueh that the latter 
could hope to receive arms only from the Generalissimo. In a later radio, 
Chennault added: "In my opinion, Hsueh Yueh has now definitely affirmed 
his allegiance to Chungking, having learned for good and all from this epi- 
sode that he cannot expect aid as an independent leader." In retrospect, it 
appears that perhaps it was General Hsueh's attempt to be an independent 
leader that lay behind the loss of the east China airfields and the reverses of 
the summer of 1944. The Generalissimo was not willing to send arms and 
reinforcements to so ambitious a subordinate, especially since a resounding 
victory over the Japanese by Hsueh Yueh might well result in the latter's 
gaining stature that would make him a rival of the Generalissimo. In any 
case, the Generalissimo had embargoed all arms and reinforcements for 
Hsueh. Now that Hsueh had made his submission, reconciliation and arms 
speedily followed, but far too late to affect the issue. Not until 22 Febru- 
ary, many days after Suichuan's loss, did Hsueh tell Chennault that the 
Chinese Military Affairs Department in Chungking had issued him 1,200,000 
rounds of rifle ammunition, 3,000 mortar shells, 270,000 hand grenades, all 
of which were in Chihchiang ready for delivery. Chungking also issued him 



73 Japanese Study 130, pp. 44-46. 

74 (1) Japanese Study 130, pp. 45-47. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 333-34. 



THE CREST OF THE FLOOD IN CHINA 



179 



150 heavy machine guns, 300 light machine guns, and 30 mortars, which 
were not yet in Chihchiang. 75 

Japanese occupation of Suichuan was an empty victory. The Fourteenth 
evacuated its ground personnel and aircraft to other fields. Since its oper- 
ations had been on a hand-to-mouth basis there were no great stockpiles to 
be destroyed. All the Japanese inherited were empty runways, while Chen- 
nault's aircraft were active as before. However, the Japanese had opened the 
Canton-Hankow railway, and greatly reinforced the Canton area against the 
prospects of an American landing in that area. 

Japanese estimates of the situation, as of late January 1945, differed ac- 
cording to the headquarters forming them. Imperial General Headquarters , 
noting that the Americans had established themselves in force in the Philip- 
pines near the Canton-Hong Kong area and being in the process of reshap- 
ing its strategy to cope with the danger of invasion that now faced Japan 
itself, found that the completion of ICHIGO had placed strong Japanese 
forces in a position to counter an American attempt to move from the 
Philippines to the Canton-Hong Kong-Formosa area. Okamura's head- 
quarters, China Expeditionary Army, thought that Tokyo overestimated the 
danger of an American landing, and wanted to attack Chungking. Sixth 
Area Army, which was concerned with the day-to-day conduct of operations, 
viewed the future with apprehension, and the recent past without satisfaction: 

The immediate objective of the Hunan-Kwangsi Operation, the destruction of the 
United States air force bases, had been accomplished and several of the marked air bases 
completely destroyed. However, we checked the enemy's action only temporarily and 
were unable to strike a fatal blow. Our speed and limited scale of operation, based 
chiefly on ground operations, could hardly cope with the enemy's speed in changing and 
equipping airfields. The only practical fruit of this operation was the expansion of a 
large zone extending from North China to French Indo-China for lookouts and observa- 
tion of enemy air activities. 76 



75 Rad CAK 5697, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 15 Feb 45; Rad CAK 6017, Chennault to Gross 
21 Feb 45; Rad, Chennault to West, 21 Feb 45; Rad CAK 6126, Glenn to Chennault 22 Feb 45' 
Items 411, 432, 438, 439, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File. 

76 (1) Quotation from Japanese Study 130, p. 31. (2) Japanese Study 129, p. 66. (3) 
Japanese Study 45, p. 173. 



PART TWO 



PLANS AND PREPARATIONS FOR 
OPENING A PORT IN CHINA 



CHAPTER VI 



The Mars Force and the Burma Road 

While the Chinese divisions in north Burma had been pushing the Jap- 
anese out of the upper reaches of the Shweli valley and so off the trace of the 
almost completed ground line of communications to China, the moment had 
been approaching when the small American force in Burma was to receive 
its greatest test. It was given the mission of striking across the lower end of 
the Shweli valley to the old Burma Road and hastening the advance of the 
Chinese forces against the Japanese still on the upper trace of that road. 
The significance of this mission was that as long as substantially intact and 
battleworthy Japanese forces remained in north central Burma neither the op- 
eration of the new Ledo Road nor the flank and rear of the British forces 
now driving deep into Burma could be secured. Nor could the three Amer- 
ican-trained Chinese divisions in Burma and the Mars Force be released to 
reinforce Wedemeyer. It was believed that the Mars Task Force, acting 
as a goad on the flank of the Japanese line of communications, could make a 
significant contribution to victory, while its performance would show whether 
the lessons of the Galahad experiment in long-range penetration warfare 
had been learned. 

Marsmen Prepare for Battle 

Though pushing the Japanese off the trace of the Burma Road tended to 
overshadow events elsewhere, it was only part of a larger operation, Capital. 
Phase II of Capital called for taking the general line Thabeikkyin-Mogok- 
Mongmit-Lashio by mid-February 1945; operations looking directly toward 
the completion of that mission had been under way simultaneously with 
those to clear the road. Sultan's current plan called for the forces under his 
command to swing east like a closing gate. To the north, this maneuver 
had pushed the Japanese off the trace of the road to China, but the rest of 
the swing was still to be made. Mars Task Force, the Chinese 30th Divi- 
sion, and the Chinese 114th Regiment had still to move east and cut the 
Burma Road below the Namhkam- Wanting area, the Chinese 50th Division 
had to take Lashio, and the British 36th Division had to cross the Burma 



184 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Road south of Lashio. This swing would sweep the Japanese from the area 
north of Capital's Phase II line. 1 Meanwhile, the 38th Division ( — ) of 
the Chinese New First Army would be operating to the north in the Namh- 
kam-Wanting area. The fighting in the northern part of the NCAC front, 
where NCAC's divisions had driven northeast to link with the Y-Force and 
break the blockade of China, has been described." 

The work of the rest of NCAC's forces, which did not reach its climax 
until February 1945, after the Ledo Road had gone into operation, developed 
south of the Shweli valley area, in and a little to the southeast of the triangle 
Namhkam-Mong Yu-Namhpakka. The Chinese forces from Burma and 
China, CAI and Y-Force, had met in the vicinity of the apex, at Mong Yu. 
The west side of the triangle was the Shweli valley, with Namhkam at its 
western corner. Forming the eastern side of the tr iangle was the Burma 
Road, on which were Mong Yu and Namhpakka. | {Map 10)\ 

NCAC believed that if Mars Task Force would thrust across the base of 
the triangle to the Burma Road, thus placing it closer to the locally well- 
known town of Lashio than were the Chinese, the latter might well be 
roused to emulate it through considerations of face. Mars would, it was 
hoped, spur the Chinese to greater activity in their operations. 3 

In deciding where to reach the Burma Road, Sultan rejected a suggestion, 
advanced by Easterbrook, the commander of the 475th Infantry, and adopted 
by General Willey, that Mars cut the Burma Road at a suspension bridge 
about twelve miles south of Namhpakka. A good trail led to the spot, the 
hills west of the road were within machine gun range of its traffic, and the 
Japanese could not easily bypass a roadblock there. But Sultan ruled other- 
wise. He did not think the Chinese would support a venture so deep into 
Japanese territory, and noted that the area did not offer a good site for a 
landing strip. He preferred the Ho-si area, farther north on somewhat flatter 
ground. But Ho-si had disadvantages, for there the Burma Road is beyond 
machine gun range from the ridge paralleling the road on the west. 4 There 
were also secondary roads in the hills to the east, by which the Japanese 
could escape. 

The first step toward blocking the Burma Road would be the forward 
concentration of the whole Mars Task Force, which meant bringing up the 
124th Cavalry to join the 475th. Since the 124th did not arrive at Myitkyina 
until late October 1944, it was not until December that its commanding officer, 
Col. Thomas J. Heavey, and NCAC thought it ready for the long march to 
combat. On 16 December the 124th moved south in an administrative march, 

1 See pp.| 89- 90| above. 
^See lCTTTvT l^ove. 

3 (1) NCAC History, II, 237. (2) Willey comments on draft MS. 

4 ( 1) NCAC History, II, pp. 237-38. (2) Willey comments on draft MS. 




Thabeikkyin 



Ngmhs&n 



Na/ntu 



Mogok 






38Cht+> 



Mong Yan g 



30 MAR 



Namsaw 



Kyaukme 




V9-21 MAft 
" MANQ&L&Y 



MAYMYO 




SECURING THE BURMA ROAD 

January- March 1945 

Axis of advance, Allied units 

-rf" rT Tp> Briogehe ao,19th ind Div 

Road, all weather 

= = = = = road, fair weather 

elevations \h fe et 

I 'CM 

o i ooo 3000 7000 and above 

10 20 30M<LES 



10 



10 20 30 KILOMETERS 



MAP 10 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



185 




Mule Skinners and Pack Animals of the MARS Task Force plod through the 
hills toward the Burma Road, January 1945. 

to proceed to the Bhamo area and there receive further orders. Five days 
later Mars headquarters followed, and reopened at Momauk. 5 

Supply arrangements revealed how completely the campaign had come to 
depend on air supply. The 124th was to report drop field locations forty- 
eight hours in advance; as they left camp the men would carry three days' 
rations and minimum combat loads of ammunition. Animal pack transport, 
to face the hills ahead, was heavily relied on, though a few trucks had been 
improvised from the derelicts that dotted the Myitkyina landscape. 6 

As they left Myitkyina, the men of the 124th revealed in little ways that 
they had been a cavalry regiment, still felt like a cavalry regiment, and were 
walking to war though no fault of theirs. Many of the troopers wore their 
old high-top cavalry boots, cut down an inch or two. Here and there in the 
columns were small two-wheeled carts, improvised by the men, and pulled 

5 History of the 5332d, Chs. VI, IV. 

6 Ibid. 



186 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



by ponies and little Burmese horses that the horse-wise 124th had enlisted 
for the duration. When called into federal service the 124th had been a 
Texas National Guard regiment. Transfers had diluted it, but 27 percent of 
the troopers were Texans. 7 

Marching along, the 124th passed through a settled area of Burma, part 
teak forest, part bamboo jungle with village clearings, and part rice paddy. 
The Burmese, from several tribes and peoples, would appear during breaks 
and bivouacs to barter or sell their chickens, eggs, rice, and vegetables. They 
rarely begged, unlike the Indians with their eternal cry of "baksheesh, sahib," 
nor were they endlessly persistent like the Chinese troops, but traded quietly 
and courteously. Sometimes the troopers descended on unwatched garden 
plots. Foraging and cooking, finding water, the occasional novelty of a 
pagoda, the problems of getting a good night's sleep and improvising a good 
meal, varied the days of slogging through dust and heat until the 124th 
reached Momauk, about six miles east of Bhamo. The hills were at hand, 
the Japanese were in them somewhere, the shakedown march was over. 8 

While the 124th was marching toward Momauk, the 475th and its sup- 
porting elements (the 612th Field Artillery Battalion, 31st, 33d, and 35th 
Pack Troops, 44th Portable Surgical Hospital) had been clearing the Japanese 
from the vicinity of Tonkwa. By Christmas Day it was apparent the Japa- 
nese had left the area, 9 and as soon as elements of the Chinese 50th Division 
should take over in the Tonkwa area the 475th would be ready to join the 
124th. When it did, the 5332d would operate as a brigade for the first time. 
Originally, Mars was to have been an American-style division, composed of 
the two U.S. infantry regiments and the Chinese 1st Separate Regiment. 
The concept was fading, for the same order that directed the 124th and 475th 
to assemble kept the Chinese regiment in NCAC general reserve. 10 The 
5332d would assemble in the Mong Wi area, within striking distance of the 
Burma Road. But between the two regiments and Mong Wi lay the Shweli 
River, and some of the roughest mountain country in north Burma. 

Over the Hills and Through the Woods 

Because Tonkwa is only some forty-five miles from Mong Wi, the 475th 
faced a shorter march than did the 124th, and was also closer to the moun- 
tains, two ranges of which, on either side of the Shweli, stood between it and 
Mong Wi. As 1944 closed, elements of the Chinese 50th Division were 
already across the Shweli on their way east, so the 475th would not have to 

7 Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 17, 56. 

8 Ibi d , pp. 73 -92. 

9 See |Ch. HI J above. 

10 (1) FD 22, Hq NCAC, 26 Dec 44. (2) Willev comments on draft MS. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



187 



worry about an opposed crossing but could follow the Chinese over the vine 
and bamboo bridge the 50th had built. On New Year's Eve the American 
infantry left bivouac. With them were 220 replacements that had been flown 
to the Tonkwa area and so began a rough march without the hardening their 
comrades had received during the journey south from Myitkyina. 11 

So close is Tonkwa to the mountains that the 475th found the trail rising 
steeply on the first day's march east. Like a crazily twisted drill it bored its 
way farther east and ever higher. In some places it was fifteen to twenty 
feet across; in others, just wide enough for a man and a mule. As they 
rounded the turns, the men would peer ahead and look out across the valleys 
to where lay row on row of hills, like the waves of a frozen sea. Trees were 
everywhere. In flat places carved by erosion, the Burmese had cut and 
farmed terraces, and little villages clung to the mountains like limpets to a 
rock. 

Because existing maps were unreliable, so that map reconnaissance could 
not locate water and bivouac areas, and because the sheer fatigue of climbing 
the steeper slopes was formidable, march schedules went out the window, or 
rather, down the mountain side, with quite a few steel helmets and an occa- 
sional mule. Halts were a matter of common sense leadership at platoon or 
company level. 

The march was tactical but no Japanese were encountered, though rumor 
of their nearness kept the men alert. The Chinese had passed that way 
before, while a screen of Kachin Rangers was preceding the American 
column. Speaking the local dialects and carrying radios and automatic 
weapons, the Kachins were an excellent screen which masked the Mars Task 
Force while reporting anything that might be suspicious. 

The 124th also found the mountains worse than it had expected. 
Though there had been four organized attempts to lighten the baggage load, 
and much was left behind at Momauk, still, when two days' march from that 
village the men began their climb, they found that the steep incline forced 
them to jettison cargo in earnest. The little two-wheeled carts made with 
such effort and ingenuity were no help; the trail was too much for them. 
The Burmese must have thought the lightening process a bonanza of cooking 
utensils, boots, underwear, spare fatigues, paper, and so forth. 

For the 475 th in the lead, crossing the 400- foot wide Shweli was not too 
hard. The bridge built by the Chinese some weeks before still stood, a 
triumph of Oriental ingenuity, with bundles of bamboo for pontons and 
vines for cable. The Shweli was beginning to tear it apart, but work parties 
from the 475th kept it operable. Once on the far side, the 475th found its 
march more difficult than before. The mountains were steeper and higher. 

11 Rad, TOO 0640, 31 Dec 44. 475th Radio File, NCAC Files, KCRC. 



188 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Bamboo Bridge Over the Shweli River 



Being higher, they were often hidden by cloud, so that air supply was impossi- 
ble and the men went hungry. Just as they were approaching Mong Wi, 
and the 124th was about to cross the Shweli, rain began. Trails became ex- 
tremely slippery and hazardous, and even the mules sometimes slid into 
ravines. That day, 6 January, the 2d Battalion of the 475th evacuated twelve 
men as march casualties. 

The rain fell on the 124th as it began descending to the Shweli. The 
trail was over a fine red clay; when soaked, the footing became quite slippery. 
Men and mules skidded right on down to the river edge, in a mad muddy 
slide that mixed the comic and the hazardous. Colonel Heavey would have 
preferred to cross elsewhere, but after the 124th had lost 4 January in looking 
for crossing points and waiting for an airdrop, and a series of radios had been 
exchanged between Heavey and NCAC, the 124th was told to cross where it 
could, providing it reached Mong Wi on schedule. That time limit com- 
mitted it to the muddy slide and the Chinese bridge. 

Thanks to the rains, the Shweli was now in flood and pulling the bridge 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



189 



apart. Considerable rebuilding was necessary, while the bridge's flimsy, un- 
stable nature made it a real hazard. Mules were taken over one at a time; 
not till one was safely off was another allowed on. Sometimes the artillery 
pack mules were unloaded and the cannoneers manhandled howitzer com- 
ponents. When night came, crossing stopped. Meanwhile, the rains fell. 
Bad visibility precluded airdropping, so it was a wet, cold, and hungry unit 
that finally stumbled into bivouac across the Shweli. Because of the rain 
and the search for a crossing site, it was not until 10 January that the 124th 
was over the river and ready to march for Mong Wi. 12 Heavey was not to 
have the privilege of taking the 124th into combat. The strain of the march 
was too much; he was relieved and evacuated from a liaison plane strip cut 
out near the Shweli. 13 

Concentration of Mars Task Force was screened by two patrol bases of 
battalion strength, established by the 475th on 6 January. Behind them the 
475th waited for a supply drop at Mong Wi, as the 124th pressed eastward. 
The 475th's wait was a wet and hungry one, then the weather cleared and 
the transports brought food. Their stomachs full at last, the combat infantry 
troops were ready to move, and received their orders 8 January. From the 
soldiers' point of view the ground between Mong Wi and the Burma Road 
was no improvement over that between Tonkwa and Mong Wi. The cen- 
tral portion of the Loi Lum Range that separates Mong Wi and the Burma 
Road is between 5,000 and 7,000 feet high, with trails so difficult that some 
of the mules could not hold to them, and fell over the side. Some stretches 
were so steep that men could climb only for a minute or two, then had to 
rest. 

General Willey began to deploy his two regiments over 10 and 11 
January. Easterbrook was made responsible for the opening of operations 
against the road. Willey told him that with help from the 124th he was to 
disrupt traffic on the Burma Road and to prepare a detailed plan of opera- 
tions and submit it for approval. The 124th would occupy the Mong Wi 
area and free the 475th to advance. Then Willey reflected, and decided that 
more than the 475th would be needed along the Burma Road, for on 13 
January both regiments were alerted for operations against the road. Willey 
also tried, but unsuccessfully, to obtain the services of the Chinese 1st Sepa- 
rate Regiment. NCAC refused, but Willey's request made clear that he 
wanted to drive on the Burma Road with the equivalent of a U.S. division. 14 

12 (1) Daily Jnl, 124th Cavalry. NCAC Files, KCRC. (2) Diary of Lt Col John H. Lattin, 
Exec Officer, 2d Bn, 475th Inf. OCMH. (Hereafter, Lattin Diary.) (3) Randolph, Marsmen in 
Burma, pp. 108-27. 

13 Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 125. 

14 Rad, NCAC to 5332d, 0617 10 Jan 45; Rad, Willey to Easterbrook, 7 Jan 45; Rad, Willey 
to Heavey, 10 Jan 45; Warning Order, 13 Jan 45; Rad, Willey to NCAC, 11 Jan 45. 5332d G-3 
Jnl, KCRC. 



190 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



While the 475th had been moving forward, the 124th had been resting 
and resupplying at Mong Wi. The break ended 15 January, and it set out 
for the Burma Road in the wake of the 475th. Again the march was a hungry 
one. The 124th's destination was Kawngsong, to the north and somewhat 
forward of the points the 475th was to seize. This meant that the 124th 
had to swing around the 475th and up ahead of it. To do this in rain, night, 
and woods was not easy; as the men moved into line two squadrons lost their 
way and bumped into the rear elements of the 475th. The tangle was 
straightened out, and as the scouts of the 475th were eying a quiet group of 
bamboo huts, the 124th was moving around the 475th's left flank. 15 

Harassing Japanese Traffic 

Since General Willey understood that the Mars role was to encourage 
the Chinese to greater celerity in doing their part to secure the land route to 
China and had been ordered to hold down casualties, he did not try to place 
the 475th squarely astride the Burma Road, but gave it a mission that was 
qualified and hedged. He directed Easterbrook to strike against the 
Wanting-Hsenwi section of the Burma Road, to disrupt supply arrange- 
ments, and to place a roadblock, but not to become so deeply involved that 
he could not extricate his force. Willey also warned him to consider that 
he might be attacked from almost any side. 16 

The Japanese, for their part, had the 56th Division plus the 168th Regiment 
of the 49th Division well north of the Hosi area, and the 4th Regiment 
(Ichikari), 2d Division, and the Yamazaki Detachment (about a regiment) just 
south and northwest of Namhpakka respectively. Namhpakka was a sensi- 
tive point, for it held a big Japanese ammunition dump. The 4th Regiment, 
of about 1,000 men, was the unit that Mars now faced. But the other Japa- 
nese to the north and west were expected by Mars to react strongly, though 
for obvious reasons their strength, which was 11,500, was unknown. Since 
their mission was to help in the decisive struggle now taking form around 
Mandalay, the Japanese had no alternative but to make their way past Mars 
as best geography and the fortunes of battle permitted. 17 

The ground over which Mars and the Japanese clashed changed in char- 
acter east of a north-south line about two miles east of Ho-pong | (AL?/? 11) 
West of that imaginary line, the streams, flowing west, carved the earth so 
that the ridge lines ran east and west; Mars had gone east along the ridge 

15 (1) NCAC History, III, 302. (2) Daily Jnl, 2/475th Bn. KCRC. 

16 (1) Rad, Willey to Easterbrook, 10 Jan 45. 5332d G-3 Jnl. (2) Willey comments on 
draft MS: "Orders to me from the start not to lose U.S. men unnecessarily." (3) The Chinese 
did not know of these restrictions on Mars Force and expected it to block the road. Dupuy 
Comments. 

17 Japanese Study 148. 



192 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



lines. Now, east of Ho-pong, the Americans found that the drainage pattern 
and the terrain had changed, for here the ridges, streams, and valleys ran gen- 
erally north and south. One reason was a fair-sized stream about five miles 
to the south whose tributaries were cutting the ground along north-south 
lines. 

About two and one half miles east of the ridge on which squats Ho-pong 
village, the next ridge line, reflecting the changed topography, bends to the 
south and east in an arc. On one of its peaks is a village of the Palaung 
tribe, Nawhkam, consisting of some forty bamboo huts or bashas on either 
side of the ridge-top trail. One mile east of Nawhkam is a little alluvial 
valley, perhaps three miles long and a half mile wide. One can imagine that 
the Palaungs tilled their rice fields there in better days, and perched their 
village on the ridge line for coolness and defense. Along the eastern edge 
of this narrow valley a string of three hills rises from 250 to 900 feet above 
the valley floor which is 3,600 feet above sea level. The southernmost and 
the highest of the three (in reality the northern end of a larger ridge) became 
known to the Americans as the Loi-kang ridge, after the Kachin village on 
its crest. The bean-shaped 3,850-foot hill in the center is the lowest, while 
the sprawling mass of the third hill near the northern end of the valley is 
approximately 4,250 feet high. From one to one and a half miles to the east 
of the hills is the Burma Road, the ultimate objective of the Mars Task 
Force. On the road, and behind the 4,250-foot hill, is Namhpakka. The 
size of the area can be estimated from Nawhkam's being three miles from 
the Burma Road. The action would be fought in an arena about four miles 
by four miles. 

The terrain features are covered with woods and undergrowth. Visibility 
along the ground is often restricted and fields of fire are not too good. The 
Burma Road, however, is clearly visible from the dominant features. 

The immediate objective of the 475th, the first step toward the Burma 
Road, was the high ground (estimated at the time to be 4,750 feet in alti- 
tude) in the area of Nawhkam village. The trail from Ho-pong led east, 
down a ravine, up the steep hillside, then onto the ridge where Nawhkam 
stood. Once this ridge was taken, the little alluvial valley that offered a 
protected site for supply installations would be dominated; the next step would 
be to cross the valley and get on top of Loi-kang ridge. 

To hold off possible Japanese reinforcements, Company I of the 3d Bat- 
talion and two companies of Kachin Rangers were sent five miles north with 
orders to block the road from the Shweli valley to Namhpakka on the Burma 
Road. 

The 1st Battalion moved out 17 January, behind the Intelligence and 
Reconnaissance Platoon, and ahead of both, in that loneliest of positions, 
lead scout, were two veterans of the Galahad Force, S. Sgts. Ernest Reid 




Marsmen Cut CROSS- Country over mountainous terrain to reach tbetr objuiiu. 
H January 1945. 



194 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



and Chester C. Wilson. The march went on, a quick tumble down the slope 
to the ravine, then the slow climb up, and the advance south and east on the 
ridge top. The hours went by, to about 1000. Approaching Nawhkam, the 
scouts moved off to the north flank, then cut south into the scraggly line of 
bashas. Down the trail which formed the main— and only— street they went. 
At the south end a Japanese soldier at the door of a basha saw them, and 
fired at Sergeant Reid. Reid's luck held, for the shot missed. Japanese 
scrambled out of the bashas at the end of the village, ran south, and the 
fight was on. The Japanese, later estimated at two squads, quickly took 
position on a knoll seventy-five yards south. The Intelligence and Recon- 
naissance Platoon deployed and under cover of its fire Reid and Wilson 
pulled back into safety. The battalion commander, Lt. Col. Caifson Johnson, 
a former Big Ten wrestling champion and football player from Minnesota, 
committed Company B, and in eighty minutes the now smoking village was 
free of the Japanese outposts, at a cost of one American wounded. 

Clearing the ridge continued in the afternoon. Another Japanese outpost 
was discovered at the southern end of the ridge, contained, and disposed of 
on 18 January. While the action was under way, an airdrop, most welcome to 
the hungry troops, was received at 1430. 

Late in the afternoon, the move toward the Burma Road began to yield 
its first dividends. The 612th Field Artillery, beginning its occupation of 
position around 1630, immediately registered on the Burma Road, range 
about 4,000 yards, with good observation. Japanese daylight traffic along 
the Burma Road to the 56th Division could now be interdicted. 

At this point the 1st Battalion had secured the ridge top, and the 2d Bat- 
talion was in position about two miles southwest of the south end of the 
ridge line, separated from the 1st Battalion by another ridge on which was 
the Japanese-occupied village of Ho-naw. Until the Japanese were driven 
from Ho-Naw, the 1st Battalion was to hold on the ridge. The 3d Battalion 
was in the process of moving northeast through the 1st Battalion's position, 
on its way to assembly areas from which to seize ground directly overlooking 
the Burma Road. 18 So far the operation had gone like clockwork against 
the lightest of opposition from outposts. 

The morning of 18 January efforts began to take positions dominating 
the Burma Road. The objectives of the attack were the three hills along 
the eastern edge of the little alluvial valley. The plan called for the 2d Bat- 
talion, 475th, to establish a position on the north end of Loi-kang ridge, the 
3d Battalion to take the 3,850-foot hill, and the 3d Squadron, the hill which 
overlooks Namhpakka. 

The 3d Battalion took its objective with ease, moving up the hillside 

18 Ltr, Easterbrook to Col J. W. Stilwell, Jr., 28 Jan 45; Easterbrook Notebook, 17 Jan 45. 
Easterbrook Papers. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



195 



against minor opposition, estimated at perhaps two squads. For the Japa- 
nese as yet had not reacted to the Mars advance by bringing troops from 
elsewhere. The 2d Battalion, which had to use a circuitous route from its 
positions to the south, did not attack until afternoon. Crossing the valley, 
it climbed up the north end of Loi-kang ridge, and began moving south. 
Around 1600 it met the first real opposition, as "all hell broke loose" from 
Japanese fire strong enough to stop the battalion's advance. The fire came 
from elements of the local garrison, the 1st and 2d Battalions, 4th Regiment, 
2d Division. 19 

The 3d Squadron in advancing to its jump-off position moved behind the 
2d Battalion until such time as the latter turned east to its objective; then 
the cavalrymen continued on north and east toward theirs. This procedure 
was time consuming; the 124th would not be in place to attack until 19 Jan- 
uary. The troops had but the lightest contact with the Japanese on the 
18th, resulting in one trooper slightly wounded. 20 

Meanwhile the 2d Battalion found itself in a fight. The Japanese had 
fortified the ridge north of Loi-Kang village, and held stubbornly along the 
crest. The battalion had a hard time establishing itself on the ridge, what 
with darkness falling and wounded having to be brought down. Japanese 
counterattacks briefly cut off a platoon, but by evening the 2d Battalion had 
a perimeter on the side of the hill and was firmly in place, though the crest 
and the southern end, on which was Loi-kang village, still were in Japanese 
hands. The 1st Battalion took its objective, Ho-naw village, with two men 
wounded. Johnson's men found twenty-four Japanese packs, suggesting a 
hasty flight. 21 

The 612th Field Artillery took advantage of its commanding position and 
excellent observation to attack what the 475th's commander recorded as 
"beautiful targets." The Tenth Air Force, which, co-ordinated by an air sup- 
port liaison group, was to be much in evidence in the days ahead, bombed 
Namhpakka. The transports came in for airdrops in the valley, and the drop 
field began operation under hazards that were to last for the rest of the ac- 
tion, for the Japanese on their end of Loi-kang ridge had perfect observation 
down the little valley. They promptly called for artillery and mortar fire. 
The Japanese had two 150-mm. howitzers in the area; their presence was 
soon felt. 22 

19 (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 18 Jan 45. (2) Daily Jnl, 2/475th Bn. (3) Japanese Study 
148, p. 46. (4) Statement, Superior Private Yoshio Sato. Folder 62J, 441-450, NCAC Files, 
KCRC. Sato claimed that the 3d Battalion was in Java. (5) Johnson comments on draft MS. 
(6) Quote from Lattin Diary. 

20 Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. 

21 (1) NCAC History, III, 301. (2) Easterbrook Situation Map. (3) Quote from Easter- 
brook Notebook, 19 Jan 45. (4) Johnson comments on draft MS. (5) Lattin Diary. 

22 (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 18 Jan 45. (2) Willey comments on draft MS. 



196 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Marsmen on Loi-Kang Ridge. The Japanese were driven from the crest of the ridge 
by the 2d Battalion, 475th Infantry, 19 January 1945. 

While these operations were under way, Willey sought to bring up rein- 
forcements of men and artillery. On 18 January he tried to persuade NCAC 
to use the Chinese 1st Separate Infantry Regiment. Sultan disapproved the 
request. Attempts to obtain the presence of Chinese 105- and 155-mm. 
artillery, to counter the effective Japanese 150-mm. howitzers, also failed. 
After the war Willey was at a loss to know why the Chinese 1st Separate 
Infantry Regiment, originally intended to operate as part of a division, was 
kept in NCAC reserve. He surmised that the Chinese objected to its being 
under American command, and that for essentially diplomatic reasons General 
Sultan had yielded. 23 

General Willey also recalled later that another command problem con- 
cerned and hindered him. He believed that his airdrop field had to be 

2i (1) Willey comments on draft MS. (2) Rad, Willey to NCAC, 18 Jan 45; Rad, NCAC to 
Willey, 19 Jan 45. 5332d G-3 Jnl. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



197 




Japanese Truck and Tankette trapped by crater blown in the Burma Road by 
MARS demolition men. 

covered at all costs, and so he could not maneuver as freely as he would have 
liked. A quarterback whose team had the ball within its 10-yard line would 
sympathize with the military problem; both Willey and the quarterback 
would be limited in their choice of maneuvers even though both were on 
the attack. 24 

That night, the 18th, the Japanese received reinforcements for their posi- 
tion in the Namhpakka area. The Yamazaki Detachment, under orders from 
35d Army, was moved back from the vicinity of Namhkam to link the 4th 
Regiment with the main concentration to the north. 25 

On 19 January, Mars Task Force made an attempt to block the Burma 
Road by demolition. From the 3d Battalion, a patrol was sent out under 
T. Sgt. Alfred T. Martin. Sergeant Martin had the distinction of being the 

24 Willey comments on draft MS. 

25 Japanese Study 148, p. 46. 



198 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



first American to set foot on the Burma Road in this area. He and his 
patrol successfully blew a crater in the road, then withdrew. The 612th 
Field Artillery, meanwhile, fired on a number of profitable Japanese targets, 
and believed they succeeded in knocking out four Japanese tankettes. Two 
were caught on the road, and two more to the north of the 3d Battalion. 

This same day the 2d Battalion reached the crest of Loi-kang ridge. 
When the battalion had organized its position, the executive, Maj. John H. 
Lattin, noted in his diary that the first attack at 0900 had "bogged down" 
with Japanese dug in on both the sides and crest of the ridge. Around 1300 
hours the decision was made to charge straight ahead for there was no room 
to maneuver. At 1400 ThrailkilPs men went right on up the ridge and had 
the satisfaction of seeing the Japanese run. The Americans lost seven killed 
and seventeen wounded but had driven the Japanese from the crest of a very 
defensible position. 26 

To the north, the 3d Squadron of the cavalry moved on to its hill top 
objective, also on 19 January, in late afternoon under Japanese mortar and 
artillery fire. Two brushes with Japanese patrols, one of which was hit by 
an artillery concentration for twelve counted dead, gave the 124th its first 
contact with the Japanese soldier. That night the troopers dug in where 
they were to wait for morning and a chance to organize a systematic defense. 27 
The 124th's artillery support was being given by the 61 3th Field Artillery, 
which brought its twelve 75-mm. pack howitzers into action on 19 January. 
The 6l3th's commander, Colonel Donovan, was able to fight his battalion as 
a unit, with batteries under the control of fire direction center, and battalion 
concentrations ready on call. After the war Donovan stated that, in contrast, 
the batteries of the 61 2th Field Artillery were usually detached to the control 
of the 475th's battalion commanders. Using aerial observation, the 613th 
put a Japanese 150-mm. howitzer out of action at the extreme range of its 
little howitzers. 28 

To these activities the Japanese began to react more strongly than they 
had earlier. Two attacks at daybreak on the 3d Battalion suggest that the 
Yamazaki Detachment was making its presence felt. 29 

Sergeant Martin's blowing a crater in the Burma Road, the artillery's 
placing fire on what had been the artery of supply and evacuation of the 56th 
Division, and the fact that three battalions were less than 2,000 yards from 
the road suggested to the local commanders that the time had come to move 

26 Lattin Diary, 19 Jan 45. 

27 (1) Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 149-50. 

28 (1) Ltr, Col Donovan to Gen Smith, 6 Nov 53. OCMH. (2) Willey comments on the 
draft manuscript of this volume also mentions the successful counterbattery by the 61 3th. 

29 (1) NCAC History, III, 302. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 19 Jan 45. (3) Daily Jnl, 124th 
Cav. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



199 



across the Burma Road and clamp it shut. The first phase, that of getting 
established along the road, was over. 

The Block Disapproved 

For a day or two heavy action seemed imminent as troops of the 2d Bat- 
talion tried to move south on 19 January from their part of Loi-kang ridge 
and consolidate their positions. Between the 2d Battalion and Loi-kang 
village was a group of Japanese, well dug in, and with plenty of machine 
guns and 82-mm. mortars. The local terrain favored the defense, for the 
ridge at this point was a razorback. Trying to advance off the trail, which 
ran along the crest directly into the Japanese machine guns, the men of the 
2d Battalion found themselves on slopes so steep they had to cling to the 
brush with their hands or creep on all fours. Frontal assault seemed the 
only solution, and the 3d Platoon, Company F, T. Sgt. Patrick W. Murphy, 
delivered one that took the Japanese positions to the direct front. At the 
day's end, the battalion had a better position but the Japanese at their end of 
the ridge were still able to place observed fire on American supply and com- 
mand installations in the little valley. Something would have to be done 
about the Japanese end of Loi-kang ridge. 30 

Dawn of 20 January revealed to the 3d Squadron troopers that their first 
positions were on the reverse crest of their objective. Being on the reverse, 
they lacked the observation and fields of fire over the Burma Road that were 
their aim. There were Japanese to the direct front and it was necessary to 
attack. The hill was carried against opposition that yielded fifty counted 
Japanese dead; then, as the squadron was reorganizing, the Japanese struck 
back twice supported by strong artillery fire. The squadron at 1100 with- 
drew slightly to obtain a smaller perimeter. Fortunately, by noon the 1st 
Squadron was within supporting distance. Troops A and B were attached 
to the 3d Squadron while Troop C and headquarters went on to their objec- 
tive, a hill about two miles northwest of Namhpakka. The 3d Squadron 
attacked again on the morning of the 21st. By afternoon it could report the 
situation secure and ask for a mail drop. The squadron had lost only four 
killed, seven wounded. This success of the 124th meant that by morning of 
the 21st four battalions were lined up along the Burma Road. Of the four, 
only the 2d had encountered stiff resistance, but some at least of the problems 
it faced could be ascribed to the difficulty of bringing heavy pressure to bear 
under the peculiar terrain conditions. 31 

Japanese resistance to date was not imposing, and Colonel Easterbrook 

30 (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 20 Jan 45. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 148-49. 

31 (1) Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma. 



200 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



decided to request permission to take further offensive action. Although 
Japanese counterattacks, like those on the 20th against the 124th, and two 
more launched against the 3d Battalion had been repulsed, Japanese artillery 
fire at night was a distinct hazard, and was causing heavy casualties among 
the mules. 

On 21 January Easterbrook asked General Willey for permission to move 
the 3d Battalion to a ridge just east of the Burma Road, "if and when we 
get some supplies." In justification for the move it could be argued that 
while MARS was harassing Japanese traffic along the Burma Road it was not 
stopping it. Thus, the 2d Battalion that same day had planted mines and 
booby traps along the road. The next night two Japanese trucks blew up 
on the road, but the night after that Japanese armor wis using the road at a 
cost of only one tankette disabled by a mine. As for the 124th, its unofficial 
unit historian noted that "nearly every night" Japanese trucks could be heard 
going by. Plainly, the mines and ambushes of the Mars Task Force were 
not cutting off traffic on the Butma Road, to say nothing of the bypass trails 
to the east. Moreover, on 21 January, leading elements of the Chinese 114th 
Regiment contacted U.S. patrols as they entered the area to the north, so the 
Allied position was growing stronger. On 22 January patrols actually 
reached the ridge on the far side of the road; the battalion might have been 
able to follow. 52 

But on that same day of 22 January, word came back from 5332d Brigade 
headquarters at Myitkyina that the plan to move east was disapproved "at 
this time." "Plan is good," radioed Willey, "but I have no report on Allied 
activities to the north." After the war, Willey recalled having considered 
that the success of the proposed operation depended upon its co-otdination 
with the Chinese and upon the supply situation. Willey's radio shows that 
he was concerned about co-ordination. So, for the present, Mars Task force 
would confine itself to patrols, demolitions, and artillety fife. ? 5 

Pattols and ambushes offered ample scope for courage and enterprise 
among small unit commanders. Between 21 and 28 January the patrols made 
their sweeps and laid their ambushes with varying results. Ration deliveries 
were irregular because Japanese fire interfered with the transports as they 
came over for their supply drops. From 14 to 26 January the 2d Battalion, 
475th, was on reduced rations, though ammunition came in steadily. 54 

During this week of patrolling by day and Japanese raids and artillery fire 
by night, several incidents of note occurred. The 124th Cavalry located a 

32 (1) Easterbrook Notebook. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 158. (3) Opns Jnl, 
2/475th Inf, 21-23 -Jan 45. (4) The proposal is Item 12, 21 Jan 45, 5332d G-3 Jnl. 

33 (1) Easterbrook Notebook. (2) Quotation is from Rad, Willev to Easterbrook, 21 Jan 45. 
5332d G-3 Jnl. (3) Willey comments on draft MS. 

^ Lattin Diary. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



201 




Mortar Squad, 124th Cavalry, cleans and oils an 81 -mm. Ml mortar during a 
lull in operations, 22 January 1943. 



Japanese ammunition dump near the 3d Battalion's positions. The 3d sent 
out a patrol and blew up the stockpile, with 3,000 rounds of 70-, 75-, and 
105-mm., 400 rounds of grenade discharger, and 12 cans of small arms am- 
munition, and 18 drums of gasoline. Two tankettes were destroyed the 
night of 23-24 January. The Japanese tallied on the 25th by ambushing a 
2d Battalion patrol, killing three Americans and wounding four. 35 

Meanwhile, this pressure by Mars Task Force and that of the Chinese 
forces in the north began to register on the Japanese. The soldiers of the 
4th Regiment, 2d Division, could see the aerial activity that kept Mars sup- 
plied. Not recognizing what they saw, they were so impressed by a big sup- 
ply drop on the 24th that they sent a report to the 56th Division of a large 

" (1) Ersterbrook Notebook. (2) Daily Jnls, 124th Cav, 475th Inf. 



202 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



airborne force being landed along the Burma Road. Accepting this report, 
the %th's commander passed it on to the 33d Army and Burma Area Army. 
He added that he proposed to destroy his ammunition and retreat south. 
His superiors on 24 January agreed to let him retreat, but only after he had 
evacuated casualties and ammunition. Forty vehicles with gasoline accom- 
panied by a Major Kibino of the 33d Army staff were sent north to support 
the %th in its withdrawal. 36 

The Japanese truck convoy made its run north the night of 24 January. 
The trucks were heard, and the Americans placed heavy fire on the road. 
Kibino had been making the trip in a tankette. Hit by a 4.2-inch mortar 
shell, it burst into flames clearly visible from the American lines. Kibino 
clambered out, jumped on a truck, and succeeded in getting his convoy 
through to the 56th Division. Next day the derelict tankette was credited to 
the 2d Battalion, 475th Infantry. 37 

With fuel and additional trucks at their disposal the Japanese began the 
difficult and dangerous task of running past the Mars positions. The Japa- 
nese of necessity had to move by night, and they seem to have adopted, for 
this reason, the tactic of keeping the Americans under pressure by heavy 
shelling during the night, by counterbattery with 150-mm. artillery, and by 
night raids. These diversionary operations were personally directed by the 
33d Army chief of staff. 38 

Meanwhile, the Chinese 114th Regiment, which had arrived in the gen- 
eral area 21 January, was slowly moving toward the road, north of Mars's 
lines and much closer to the %th Division. The commander Col. Peng Ko-li 
had conferred with Colonels Osborne and Easterbrook and, after the meeting, 
gave the impression that their plans had not been clearly denned to him. 39 
Peng's comments to higher Chinese authority may have been fairly vigorous, 
for the commander of the New First Army, General Sun Li-jen, through his 
American liaison officer, told Headquarters, NCAC, that Mars Task Force 
had not cut the Burma Road near Hosi. Instead it had five battalions lined 
up on the hills and the Americans had refused to let the 114th Regiment 
through their lines to attack Namhpakka, so that the 3d Battalion, 114th 
Regiment, had turned northeast and cut the Burma Road at the eighty-mile 
road mark from Lashio on 22 January. 40 

According to the American records, based on liaison officer reports, the 
Chinese occupied two blocking positions on 27 January, suggesting that they 

36 Japanese Study 148, pp. 47-48. 

37 (1) Ibid., p. 48. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 24 January 1945, speaks of the "fireworks" on 
the road. 

38 (1) Japanese Study 148, p. 49. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 29 January 1945, mentions 
150-mm. counterbattery. (3) Lattin Diary. 

39 NCAC History, III, 277. 

40 Rad 310, 22 Jan 45. 38th Div Rad File, NCAC Files, KCRC. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 



203 



had used the interim in moving up. The 3d Battalion took high ground 
just east of Milestone 82, five miles north of Mars's lines, while the 1st Bat- 
talion put a company less a platoon on the east side of the road at Milestone 
81. A Chinese battery took position about two miles west, in the hills. 

Between the 23d and the 27th, the latter being the date the road to China 
was opened, the Japanese had evacuated "more than a thousand casualties 
and several hundred tons of ammunition." Their account lacks detail, but 
references to the situation's becoming critical around 30 January probably tell 
what followed when the Chinese actually crossed the road. 

The 3d Battalion was shelled and attacked for five days running, until the 
men were falling asleep in their foxholes. As for the lone Chinese com- 
pany blocking the Burma Road, the Japanese reconnoitered its position the 
night of 28 January and also checked the defenses of the Chinese battery sup- 
porting the 114th. Next night the Japanese attacked. The battery position 
was overrun and three howitzers neutralized by demolition charges. The 
solitary Chinese company trying to stand between the 56th Division and 
safety was almost destroyed. As these disasters were being suffered the Japa- 
nese were continuing their blows at the 3d Battalion, Chinese 114th Regiment, 
which stoutly held its hilltop positions. 

The successes of the Japanese on the night of 29 January were sufficient 
for their purpose. Colonel Peng had advanced a minor piece on the game 
board and lost it. He accepted the situation and did not again try to stop 
the 56th Division's retreat by a roadblock. The events of 27-29 January, 
when the Japanese succeeded in getting past the Chinese while the American 
forces were not astride the Burma Road or supporting the Chinese, brought 
some later recrimination. The vice-commander of the 38th Division, Dr. Ho, 
writing after the war, echoed General Sun's complaint that Mars had failed 
to cut the Burma Road, thus permitting the Japanese to concentrate on his 
men. 41 

In their battalion perimeter defenses along the west side of the Burma 
Road, the Americans during this period received some of the impact of the 
Japanese effort, mostly persistent shelling, the greater weight of which may 
have fallen on the 2d Battalion, 475th. The Japanese did not neglect 
counterbattery, and by 29 January the 6l2th Field Artillery had three of its 
75-mm. howitzers silenced by 150-mm. shells. On the 26th four men of the 
2d Battalion were almost buried alive by a Japanese shell, while two U.S. 
machine guns were destroyed. Casualty figures for the 475th show that by 
29 January there had been 32 men killed and 199 wounded. The 612th 
Field Artillery had twice as many casualties as did the 1st Battalion, which 
was then in reserve, and the 2d Battalion had as many as the other two bat- 

41 (1) NCAC History, III, 277-79. (2) Ho Yung-chi, The Big Circle, p. 139. (3) Japanese 
Study 148. (4) Dupuy Comments. 



204 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



talions and the artillery combined. For their part, the men of Mars Task 
Force continued with daylight patrolling, booby-trapping, mining, and shell- 
ing the road, plus some minor offensive action. 42 

An attempt by Company L, 3d Battalion, to clear the Japanese from Hill 
77, just west of Milestone 77 on the Burma Road, whence its name, was a 
failure. After a heavy mortar barrage on 28 January, Company L went forward. 
The Japanese were unshaken, and swept the company headquarters with ma- 
chine gun fire. The company commander and forward platoon leader with 
four enlisted men were killed. 1st Lt. Aaron E. Hawes, Jr., took command 
and brought the company back to the battalion perimeter. 43 

To the north of the valley, the 124th Cavalry had found that Japanese 
fire from a small hill just a few hundred yards from its lines was a serious 
hazard. The final decision was to drive off the Japanese with Troop A, re- 
inforced by a platoon of C, on 29 January. Troop B and the 61 3th Field 
Artillery would give supporting fire. Since the attack was mounted in broad 
daylight, witnessed by many men from their hillside vantage spots, and ex- 
ecuted with speed and precision, witnesses were inevitably reminded of a 
service school demonstration to show the advantages of fire and movement 
in the attack. 

The Japanese held a ring of little bunkers around the crest of the hill. 
Each attacking platoon had a rocket launcher team attached to smash firing 
slits and blind the defenders. Moving as fast as the rough terrain permitted, 
the troopers used a small draw for their avenue of approach, then spread out 
for the climb up the hill. They fired as they moved. When the range per- 
mitted, grenades were hurled into the Japanese bunkers and dugouts. The 
combination of speed, fire, and movement worked well, and in two hours 
the fight was over, at a cost of eleven wounded. Thirty-four dead Japanese 
were found. 44 

The Japanese retaliated with heavy artillery fire all day and on into the 
night. As the darkness fell, there was apprehension that the Japanese would 
attack in strength that night. They did, twice, and in one desperate rush 
broke into Troop B's perimeter, overrunning a platoon command post. 
There was a brief, murderous clash in the darkness, and then the Japanese 
were gone, leaving four dead. Elsewhere, sounds in the darkness indicated 
that other Japanese were looking for the airdrop field. Later discoveries of 
U.S. rations in enemy positions suggest that the Japanese succeeded in 
getting some supplies. 45 

42 (1) Daily Jnl, 2/475th Inf. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 26-29 Jan 45. 

43 (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 28 Jan 45. (2) Hawes won the Silver Star. GO 81, par. V, 
Hq USF IBT, 26 Apr 45. 

44 (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 168, describes the fight. (2) Rpt, 1st Lt Arthur A. 
Rubli, Adj 3d Squadron, to CO 124th Cav, 12 Feb 45, sub: Casualties. Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. 

45 Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 169-70. 



THE MARS FORCE AND THE BURMA ROAD 205 




An 81-mm. Mortar Crew shelling the Burma Road. 



In these minor episodes gradually disappeared any thought that Mars's 
presence on the battlefield might lead the Chinese to greater speed of move- 
ment. The principal impact on Sino-American relations in the local scene 
seems to have been the misunderstanding as to whether Mars was to place 
itself squarely across the Burma Road. Elsewhere in Burma the failure of 
the Chinese and American forces under NCAC to hold the 36th Division in 
north Burma severely limited their contribution to SEAC's operations farther 
south, while their inability to destroy the 36th meant that not until the 
Japanese withdrawal from north Burma made further progress could Mars 
and the Chinese be released for service in China. 



CHAPTER VII 



Victory in Burma Frees 
Troops for China 

The situation in Northern Combat Area Command about 30 January was 
that the 112th and 113th Regiments, Chinese 38th Division, which had made 
the final link with China, were now at the junction of the Ledo and Burma 
Roads around Mong Yu with orders to fight down the Burma Road to 
Lashio. The Japanese 56th Division, using both the Burma Road and bypass 
trails in the hills to the east, was successfully making its way past the Chinese 
114th and Mars Task Force, which NCAC had placed in the path of the 
56th with very restricting orders. At this time, the 5332d's headquarters was 
at Man Wing, in the southwest end of the Shweli valley. 

The Chinese 30th Division, which had fought in the Namhkam area of 
the Shweli valley, had been ordered to move to the Hosi-Namhpakka area 
north of the Mars Force. 1 The leading regiment of the 30th Division, the 
89th, left the Namhkam area 25 January and met Japanese resistance almost 
at once. The Japanese held their hill and ridge- top positions for almost two 
days, then broke contact on 26 January. Next day the Chinese were in the 
area around Man Ning village, three miles west of the 124th's positions. 
Given the roughness of the terrain and the heavy woods which so restricted 
visibility, the Japanese facing the 30th Division probably did not find it dif- 
ficult to move east through the gap between the 124th's lines and those of 
the Chinese 114th Regiment. From the vicinity of Man Ning, the Chinese 
moved around to the north of the 124th's position and finally established 
themselves on a prominent hill about one and one half miles north of Hpa- 
pen village, which in turn was a mile northeast of the cavalry position. 2 

MARS 's Last Fight 

In moving past the entrenched Chinese and Americans, the Japanese were 
executing one of the most delicate operations in war, a movement along the 



1 See |p. 127] above. 

2 History of IBT, I, 47-48. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



207 



front of an enemy's lines. Very probably the Japanese watched their op- 
ponents with care and sought to guard against a thrust that would catch 
them in flank. The events of early February suggest that the point at which 
some at least of the Japanese were leaving the Burma Road to bypass Mars 
Task Force along the trails to the east was somewhere near Hpa-pen. Just 
north of Hpa-pen, the Chinese 114th Regiment had sought to cross the 
Burma Road, and the Japanese had fought back vigorously. The high 
ground around Hpa-pen stood between the 124th and the Burma Road to 
the northeast; American interest in the Hpa-pen area might draw a very 
strong reaction from the Japanese. 

Such was the conformation of the ground between the 124th and the 
Burma Road that observation and lines of fire in the quadrant from north to 
east were masked by the high ground on which Hpa-pen stood. This area 
was about a mile and a quarter northeast of the 124th's foxholes. Occupa- 
tion of the square mile of high ground around Hpa-pen, which was a part of 
the large hill mass lying west of the road, and of a smaller hill about a mile 
due east of the cavalry's lines would make it easier for the 124th to obstruct 
Japanese traffic along the Burma Road. 

Seizure of the Hpa-pen area was originally conceived as a Sino-American 
effort. By this time the Chinese 88th Regiment, 30th Division, was in the 
area, and so it was contemplated that the 88th and the 2d Squadron would 
attack together, on 31 January. The Chinese on 30 January said they wanted 
to postpone the attack until 2 February, and the delay was agreed on. On 
the 31st the Chinese stated that they would prefer to wait until the 3d. 3 
Apparently this decision was not taken as final, for Colonel Osborne, the 
124th's commander, spent the night of the 1st at the 88th Regiment 
command post, trying to arrange a co-ordinated attack. 

To gain surprise and facilitate co-operation with the Chinese, the 2d 
Squadron was moved to an assembly area at Mong Noi, a mile and a half 
west of Hpa-pen, and by a most circuitous route. Since the Japanese had ex- 
cellent observation, a ruse was attempted. On 1 February parties of men 
were sent rather openly into the forward perimeter, with orders to fall back 
under cover by ones and twos. The Japanese probably could see the perimeter 
being reinforced, but the 124th hoped that no Japanese would recognize the 
steady movement of individuals to the rear. 

On 2 February the 2d Squadron was on the line of departure, about one 
mile west of the Japanese positions. There was a preparation from 0600 to 
0620 by every weapon that could reach the Japanese positions, then the 2d 
Battalion moved out, with Troops E and F abreast and D in support. In 
fifty minutes Troop F had moved out of the little wooded draw that offered 

3 History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 8. 



208 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



a natural avenue of approach and was coming up on the high ground. 4 
Troop E, to its left, encountered more difficult terrain and reached the top at 
0800. 

As Troop F moved up the rough trail in an open column, the com- 
mander, 1st Lt. Jack L. Knight, was well to the front, and when two Japanese 
suddenly appeared at the crest, Knight killed them both. So began a display 
of stern valor and martial skill. Crossing the hill to the reverse slope, 
Knight found a cluster of Japanese emplacements. Calling up his men, he 
attacked one after another of the emplacements with grenades. When the 
Japanese, who seem to have been surprised, steadied and began inflicting 
heavy casualties on Troop F, Knight kept his attack organized and under 
control. Though half-blinded by grenade fragments, bleeding heavily, and 
having seen his brother, Curtis, shot while running to his aid, Knight still 
fought, still commanded his men, and died as his stubborn will was dragging 
his shattered body toward one more Japanese emplacement. 5 

The pillbox whose crew had killed Lieutenant Knight had been under 
fire from a rocket launcher manned by Pfc. Anthony Whitaker. Whitaker 
put three rounds on the emplacement, all of which failed to explode. 
Throwing aside his launcher, Whitaker took rifle and grenades and rushed 
on the pillbox. His effort succeeded, and may have been the turning point. 6 

Initially, Troop E, in the middle of the high ground and left of Troop F, 
did not have so difficult a time as F. Advancing with a will, E found itself 
rather forward of F's positions, and at one time was out of contact. Japa- 
nese counterattacks were met several times. Firing was heavy during the 
morning of the 2d, and as the hours passed the ammunition supply caused 
serious concern. 7 

With the action so heavy on F's front, and with E meeting strong 
counterattacks as soon as it was on its objective, Osborne elected to send in 
his reserve, Troop G, in midmorning. G was to take position on the north, 
on E's left. Where F had met Japanese intrenchments just beyond its ob- 
jective, Capt. William A. Wood of G found Japanese fortifications barring 
his path. With a machine gun, and then with grenades, Wood kept his 
attack moving. When the way was opened, Wood reorganized his force. 
Finding his forward observer dead, he took over the radio. Wood arranged 

4 (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 190, is the only account to mention the attempt to 
achieve surprise. (2) History of IBT, I, 53. 

3 (1) Troop F was originally the National Guard troop of Mineral Wells, Texas. Knight, who 
entered service from Weatherford, Texas, received the Congressional Medal of Honor. His brother 
recovered from his wound. (2) NCAC History, III, 322-23. (3) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, 
pp. 191-93. 

6 Whitaker received the Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. (1) GO 81, par. I, Hq 
USF IBT, 26 Apr 45. (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 9. (3) History of IBT, I, 54. 

7 (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 194-95. (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, p. 10. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



209 



to have a shell burst put where he could see it, then proceeded to adjust fire 
on the remaining Japanese positions, describing the relation of the burst to 
his targets as best he could. These concentrations were most effective, and 
the troop took its objective with little further opposition. 8 

Smoke from burning brush and from the phosphorous drifted across the 
lines. Japanese, possibly running from the fire, came against E's and F's 
positions in what looked very like a counterattack in the bad visibility. 
With the problem of getting supplies up through the difficult terrain, the 
general confusion of battle, and the poor light, there were moments when 
the situation seemed in the balance. But emergency expedients, like send- 
ing supplies forward by returning evacuation teams, helped, and by early 
afternoon the situation appeared to be, and was, under control. The day's 
fighting cost the 2d Squadron twenty-two dead. 9 

The Chinese contribution to this hard-fought action was a minor one. 
The Chinese regiments were not pledged to attack on 2 February, and did 
not. The 30th Division may have agreed to contribute a company, and that 
afternoon a Chinese company took its place in the perimeter for a day. 
About one mile to the south of this action, the 3d Squadron had less diffi- 
culty. Troop L with a platoon of K attached carried its objective in about 
an hour's time, with a cost of one dead and fifteen wounded. Pvt. Solomon 
O. Cureton and Pfc. Bertie W. Beacon, Jr., played a conspicuous part in the 
action by their singlehanded attacks on enemy bunkers. 10 

Clearing Loi-kang Ridge 

Next day, 3 February, found the 475th in its last regimental fight. Hold- 
ing its positions on Loi-kang ridge had strained the 2d Battalion. As noted 
before, its casualties had been the heaviest, while lack of sleep and nervous 
tension were wearing on the men. Since arriving on the ridge, the battalion 
had not been directed to remove the Japanese from the south end. Around 
31 January Easterbrook concluded that the time had come to take aggressive 
action to improve the 2d's position. At a conference with the 2d's com- 
mander, Colonel Thrailkill, on 1 February, Easterbrook learned that the 2d 
did not want to be relieved, and supported the plan of the 475th's head- 
quarters for an operation against the south end of Loi-kang ridge. Willey 
accepted Thrailkill's plea to finish the job, and countermanded the relief 
order. 

8 (1) NCAC History, III, 318. (2) Randolph, Mars men in Burma, p. 193. (3) GO 81, par. 
VII Hq USF IBT, 26 Apr 45, awarded Wood the Bronze Star. 

9 Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 194. 

10 (1) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma. (2) History of 5332d, Ch. VI, pp. 9-10. (3) 
Affidavits in Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. 



210 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



It was Thrailkill's last day of command. That night, a Japanese shell 
hit an observation post, killing him and three enlisted men. S. Sgt. Milton 
Kornfeld had his leg so badly mangled that the battalion surgeon, Capt. 
Joseph P. Worley, on the scene quickly, had to amputate at once, and 
without anesthetics. 11 

The plan of attack assumed that the Japanese in the garrison on Loi-kang's 
southern knoll would long have had their attention fixed on the 2d Battalion 
to the north, and so might well be open to attack from another direction. 
The 1st Battalion, on the other side of the little valley that held the supply 
installations, and blocking the trails to west and south, was in excellent posi- 
tion to come at the Japanese from an unexpected angle. The decision there- 
fore was for the 2d to make a holding attack from the north while the 1st 
Battalion swung around the high ground south of the valley and attacked 
Loi-kang from the south. 

At midnight, 2 February, Companies B and C were on the line of 
departure, just west of little Nam Maw River, which had carved out the 
valley. Their route would be a trail that went round the south end of the 
valley— to a village, Man Sak, which was half a mile south of and below Loi- 
kang— then went north and on up the ridge to Loi-kang. At 0400 the two 
companies led out, with Colonel Johnson, the battalion commander, in the 
lead. The men moved as quietly as possible. At 0545 the 612th Field 
Artillery, 4.2-inch and 81-mm. mortars, and heavy machine guns began a 
fifteen-minute preparation on Loi-kang. P-47 fighters of the Tenth Air Force 
aided. When the fire was lifted, the 2d Battalion, now under Major Lattin, 
attacked the Japanese with two platoons, their objective a small knoll. They 
met intense fire from two Japanese machine gun emplacements, and were 
stopped within forty yards of the enemy. Pfc. Clifton L. Henderson, a BAR 
man, volunteered to clear away this barrier. Silencing one gun with a 
grenade, he crawled around to the rear door and, under heavy fire from the 
supporting machine gun, shot the crew as they tried to run out. He then 
occupied the emplacement and put such heavy fire on the other gun as to 
silence it too. His platoon "took the objective without further loss of life." 12 

Meanwhile the 1st Battalion troops were advancing steadily in column of 
companies, C in the lead, bypassing Man Sak to avoid alerting any Japanese 
who might be there. At 0530 they were past Man Sak and on a small peak 
just south of Loi-kang. Very soon after, apparently before the preparation, 
they surprised a party of Japanese, who retreated to a small ravine and were 
there killed. The advance continued for about 1,000 yards more, to the 

11 (1) Easterbrook Notebook, 31 Jan-2 Feb 45. (2) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 174. 
(3) Willey comments on draft MS. 

12 (1) Henderson's heroism was recognized by the award of the Distinguished Service Cross. 
GO 72, par. IV, Hq USF IBT, 9 Apr 45. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 3 Feb 45. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



211 



southern outskirts of the burned-out huts that had been Loi-kang village. 
Here they were surprised by a well-hidden Japanese strongpoint and were 
pinned down. At this point T. Sgt. David M. Akui and S. Sgt. Sylvester G. 
Garrison joined in a two-man assault on the Japanese, using submachine 
guns. This action drew away the Japanese fire, and Company C could pull 
back to reorganize. 

Beyond the village, and about 500 yards from Lattin's men, Company C 
found the keystone of the Japanese position. This was a fortified knoll, 
organized for all-around defense and well covered by brush and trees. The 
only approach from the south was over a narrow ridge. The time was now 
about 1600, and it seemed late in the day for an attempt at this last barrier. 
So Company C pulled back, and the 1st Battalion proceeded to organize 
itself for the night. 

A preparation would be needed for the morning's attack; this raised the 
anxious question of just how far apart the two battalions were. The map's 
contour lines had been found to be unreliable, and aerial photographs were 
misleading because of the thick cover. By sending up a flare, the 2d Bat- 
talion marked its forward positions in the dark. This revealed enough room 
for artillery fire, and a fifteen-minute concentration was placed on the Japanese 
to keep them quiet as the 1st Battalion settled down for the night. 

Next morning there was another preparation and at 0800 Company B 
made the final assault. During the night most of the Japanese had with- 
drawn and there was little resistance, but enough to make it 1000 before the 
two battalions established contact. The cost of the operation to the 1st Bat- 
talion was two killed and fifteen wounded, only four seriously. Because the 
Japanese had been well dug in and had fought stubbornly, the 475th and 
General Willey believed that the success and low casualty rate for the opera- 
tion reflected great credit on the battalion commander, Colonel Johnson. 13 

From Combat to Administration 

After 4 February contacts between the Japanese and the Mars Task Force 
were patrol actions and artillery exchanges. One of them, on 4 February 
when a platoon of the 124th was ambushed, was a bitter encounter, but most 
were brushes with stragglers and the tag ends of the Japanese rear guards, 
growing fewer as the days passed. 

In the action of the 4th, a platoon of Troop I, accompanied but not led 
by the troop commander, 1st Lt. Hobart T. Kavel, had been sent to estab- 
lish ground contact between the 1st and 3d Squadrons. The patrol moved 

13 (1) Easterbrook Situation Map. (2) Easterbrook Notebook, 2-4 Feb 45. (3) History of 
5332d, Ch. V, p. 20. (4) Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, pp. 198-200. (5) Akui was a Hawai- 
ian. (6) Colonel Johnson was awarded the Silver Star. 



212 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



into a patch of low ground which, unknown to the 124th, lay in the field of 
fire of some well-hidden Japanese emplacements. Heavy fire from four ma- 
chine guns took the troopers by surprise. Lieutenant Kavel was wounded 
almost at once. The patrol leader, 2d Lt. Burr L. Hughes, was ordered by 
him to attack. As Hughes did so, a rifle bullet in the leg toppled him to 
the ground. Meanwhile, men were falling all about. At this critical point, 
Hughes told Pfc. George A. Owen to take command, while Hughes by 
shouting the messages kept a link open between Owen and the radio man 
to the rear. Every shout brought a burst of Japanese fire. These hasty, desper- 
ate arrangements worked. Owen controlled the platoon, while the radio sum- 
moned Troop K. One squad leader, Cpl. Pierce W. Moore, despite heavy 
wounds, led his squad in knocking out two emplacements, greatly helping the 
patrol's later withdrawal. The arrival of two squads from Troop K enabled 
the survivors to be withdrawn. The action cost six dead, twenty-seven 
wounded. Among the dead was Kavel. 1-1 

After this painful episode, contacts with the Japanese grew steadily fewer, 
though deadly enough. The 124th Cavalry on 6 February reported fourteen 
Japanese killed by booby traps and in patrol clashes. Next day the men drove 
off some Japanese with mortar fire. On 9 February the 124th reported no 
further contact with the Japanese. Then the long arm of the S-3 and his 
training schedule reached out and on 10 February the troopers began to build 
a firing range. 1 ' 

The 475 th was harassed by Japanese 150-mm. fire until aerial observation 
on 8 February revealed some suspicious-looking tracks in the area east of the 
Butma Road. An air strike was nastily whistled up. When the bombers had 
finished their mission, secondary explosions were seen and no more 150-mm. 
shells were received. The Japanese medium artillery had been most effective, 
for the first time in the fall 1944 campaign, and inflicted considerable punish- 
ment on the 475th's command and artillery installations. There followed a 
few days of cleaning up the neighborhood, and then on 10 February the 
475th went into more comfortable positions behind a screen of outposts. 16 
The Japanese were now well down the Burma Road to the south, and the 
Chinese had reached the Mars area in strength. 

When the troops began to clean up, get some sleep, and write some letters 
and the commanders began to get caught up on administrative details, it was 

14 For their display of leadership under harrowing conditions, Owen and Moore won the Dis- 
tinguished Service Cross. (1) GO 72, pars. I and IV, Hq USF IBT, 9 Apr 45. (2) GO 99, par. 
I, Hq USF IBT, 22 May 45. (3) Well known among veterans of the North Burma Campaign, 
the aggressive and colorful Kavel won his first decorations with the Galahad Force (Merrill's 
Marauders). Randolph, Marsmen in Burma, p. 150. (4) Affidavits in Daily Jnl, 124th Cav. 

15 Daily Jnt, 124th Cav. 

16 (1) Easterhrook Notebook. (2) Willey comments on draft MS. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



213 




Silver Rupees for Battle Damage. Capt. Terence Carroll, Civil Affairs Officer, 
NCAC forces, pays Burmese headmen for livestock killed in recent action between Ameri- 
cans and Japanese. 



possible to note the casualty figures. These totaled 115 killed in action and 
938 wounded. One man was missing. 17 

Medical procedures were greatly affected by the tropical hill country in 
which the campaign was fought. In evacuating wounded, much use was 
made of Burmese litter bearers hired through the civil affairs officer of the 
brigade. Carrying wounded uphill and down over rough trails was a tre- 
mendous job. If the combat troops had had to do it the drain on personnel 
strength would have been marked. The three portable surgical hospitals, 
42d, 44th, and 49th, dispatched the litter squads. Men were carried from 

17 (1) History of 5332d, Med Sec, Chart E. (2) "Lt. Irving Kofer was wounded and appar- 
ently carried away by the Japs. When the platoon took the site they found Kofer's binoculars with 
lenses smashed and his maps with charred edges, as though he tried to burn them. ... I do not 
believe his body was ever found, and I think he was the 124th's only 'missing in action.' " Com- 
ments on draft manuscript by Edward R. Bishop, formerly a lieutenant in the 124th Cavalry who 
commanded a regimental intelligence and reconnaissance platoon of the Mars Task Force. 



214 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



hospital to landing strip where the L-5's of the 5th Liaison Squadron picked 
them up and flew them back. Intestinal disease was attacked by chlorinating 
and filtering water, boiling it twenty minutes, then rechlorinating. The 
Burmese were not allowed in kitchen areas. To avoid scrub typhus the 
medical officers tried to keep troops out of abandoned native huts, but with 
indifferent success. One problem was the so-called "march fracture," a break- 
ing of the arch from carrying heavy packs over steep trails. The cumula- 
tive effect of these different problems was serious. From 15 November to 
15 February the 475th evacuated 929 men. Of these, about 750 were 
evacuated from causes not arising in battle, a serious drain on the regiment's 
strength. 18 

In anticipation of the troops' arrival along the Burma Road, a big supply 
drop was laid on well in advance, with rations packed and ready. The ar- 
rangement worked well for the 475th's supplies but when the 124th came 
into line the circling transports encountered ground fire which made them 
reluctant to drop in the area. The shortfall in deliveries in turn made the 
supply situation critical for a few days. It seems to have been solved by 
the progress of the battle. The Japanese were gradually pushed off terrain 
features from which they could menace the transports. 19 

Relations with the Burmese were the province of a British officer, Capt. 
Terrance Carroll. The Mars Task Force could have been greatly handi- 
capped by Burmese hostility; conversely, as litter bearers, guides, informants, 
laborers, and food peddlers the Burmese could have been most useful. The 
policy was adopted of paying one silver rupee a day in the forward area for 
labor, and also of recompensing the Burmese for nonbattle damage to homes 
and gardens. Thus, after Tonkwa, the local inhabitants were recompensed 
for damage by the 475th in silver rupees of prewar coinage, currency of im- 
pressive weight and fineness. Sharply contrasting with Japanese invasion 
paper money, the silver rupees were a potent argument for co-operation; the 
bamboo telegraph did the rest. The Burmese of the Kachin, Shan, and 
Palaung tribes worked cheerfully and well, were steady under shellfire, and 
gave an excellent impression of the peoples of Burma. Captain Carroll's 
services were regarded as "very valuable." 20 

The British 36th Division Wins Its Hardest Fight 

While the Chinese 38th and 30th Divisions plus Mars Task Force were 
pushing the Japanese away from the land route to China, the British Four- 
teenth Army from the west plus two of NCAC's other divisions, the British 

18 (1) History of 5332d, Med Sec. (2) Easterbrook Notebook. (3) NCAC History, III, 312. 

19 History of 5332d, G-4 and QM Sees. 

20 History of 5332d, Civil Affairs and G-4 Sees. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



215 



36th and the Chinese 50th from the north, we re steadily, and in places 
even rapidly, advancing toward central Burma. | (See Map 10 ) | 

Of the two NCAC divisions, only the British 36th under General Festing 
met heavy opposition, from the veteran Japanese 18 th Division as the latter 
sought to guard the Japanese northern flank. After taking Katha and Indaw 
in December, the 36th Division had been relieved of primary responsibility 
for the Railway Corridor, as part of the General eastward shift of the NCAC 
forces. Accordingly, General Festing's force was split into two columns. 
The 29th Brigade continued down the Irrawaddy to a point from which it 
might swerve to the east and attack the next divisional objective, Mongmit, 
from the west. The remaining two brigades, 26th Indian Infantry and 
British 72d, were to cross the Shweli at Myitson and appear at Mongmit from 
the north. The Chinese 50th Division was sent south and east to the Si-u- 
Tonkwa area, replacing the Chinese 22d Division and Mars Task Force. 
From this area, the 50th's three regiments, moving in as many columns, came 
in line along the Shweli River from Molo to Mong Hkak about mid-January 
1945. Save for the destruction of a Japanese rifle company south of Tonkwa 
the 50th had had only light contact with the retreating Japanese, but since 
by moving southeast from its present position it could cut the Burma Road 
southwest of Lashio it was in a position to attempt the interception of the 
retreating Japanese 36th Division. For the immediate present, the hard work 
fell to the British 36th Division.- 1 

On 16 December the 36th Division made contact with the advance ele- 
ments of the 19th Indian Division, which had marched overland from India 
across Burma. This meant a solid link had been established between NCAC 
and the British forces; the two fronts were now joined. When the brigades 
reached the Shweli River, a patrol sent across the night of 31 January found 
Japanese bunkers unoccupied. Next day, an attempt to cross in force met 
strong Japanese small arms fire, later stiffened with mortar and 75-mm. shells, 
after the first wave of about 130 men was across. A sandbar in the Shweli, 
on which assault boats grounded and were then shot up by the Japanese, 
made reinforcement most difficult. By morning of 2 February it was 
necessary to withdraw the survivors. 

Unwilling to repeat their previous tactics, the British chose to deceive the 
enemy. A small island near the crossing point had been a Japanese strong- 
point and most troublesome during the previous attack, so ostensible prep- 
arations were made to cross via the island. A rough trail was cut in the 
jungle and supply dumps accumulated. Meanwhile, the division made 
ready to send a brigade across the Shweli downstream and attack from the 
west. On 8 February the 26th Brigade made its crossing. Its leading ele- 

21 IBT Combat History, p. 71. 



216 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ments were seen in the assembly area, which the Japanese shelled, but they 
did not react quickly enough to keep the brigade from taking Myitson on 
10 February. 

Over the next few days the 26th Brigade improved its positions, against 
opposition that grew daily heavier. Perhaps the 18th Division was committing 
its troops piecemeal as they moved up north from the Mongmit area, for the 
result of the Japanese efforts was a steadily increasing scale of fire on the 
bridgehead and stronger resistance to attempts at expanding it. Small arms 
and artillery fire made supply and evacuation most hazardous, while Japanese 
attacks alternated with the 26th Brigade's efforts. Japanese attempts at in- 
filtration on 13 February were successful. Enemy soldiers first cut the wires 
and supply route to brigade headquarters within the perimeter, then were 
driven off. Next day they were back again and were not cleared away till 
late afternoon. For many hours brigade headquarters was cut off from the 
troops manning the perimeter, during a time when Japanese attacks were 
rising in intensity. Finally, the headquarters had to withdraw, covered by 
two rifle companies. 

The major Japanese effort was made on 17 February, a furious thrust pre- 
ceded by an estimated 2,000 rounds of shellfire and marked by Japanese use 
of flame throwers. The heaviest weight fell on two Indian battalions, 2d 
Battalion, 8th Punjab, and 1st Battalion, 19th Hyderabad. The Indians 
stood their ground with fortitude and valor and when day fell every position 
was intact. This was the supreme effort of the Japanese at Myitson; next 
day over 350 Japanese dead were counted. Illustrative of the difficulty faced 
in supplying the bridgehead, food, water, and ammunition came in by 
airdrop. 

Not until four days later could the 36th Division bring supplies across 
the Shweli by daylight, suggesting the stubbornness with which the Japa- 
nese had clung to their positions around the 26th's perimeter, and the slow- 
ness with which their grip was pried loose. Meanwhile, unknown to the 
bridgehead's grim defenders, the Japanese command in Burma found it had 
to respond to the initiative now securely in British hands. The Japanese 
feared that the much-battered divisions of the Japanese 15th Army needed 
help to meet the British forces now closing in on Mandalay, and so on 25 
February 33d Army was ordered to send the 18th Division (less one regimental 
combat team) to Mandalay to reinforce 15th Army. The 18th at once began 
to disengage and fell back on Mongmit. After the war the Japanese claimed 
to have estimated that the 36th Division would attack toward Maymyo or 
Hsipaw, and so not be a potential factor in the Mandalay area. 22 

While the British 36th Division had been fighting at Myitson the Chinese 

22 (1) 36th Div War Diary. (2) Foster, Ch. IV. (3) Japanese Study 148, p. 51. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



217 



50th Division to its east had been moving unopposed on a southeast course 
as part ot Sultan's eastward wheel. In its path were the great nonferrous 
Bawdwin mines and the town of Namtu. While the mines were of sub- 
stantial economic value, of more immediate concern was a fair road that led 
directly south from Namtu to Hsipaw, on the Burma Road below Lashio. 
The Japanese did not attempt a serious stand above the Myitnge River, but 
at a point nine miles below the town they fought with determination. In 
late February the 149th Regiment opened a bridgehead, but Japanese from 
the 113th Regiment made nine separate counterattacks before conceding its 
establishment. Perhaps decisive in ending Japanese resistance around Namtu 
was the arrival in the area of the First Chinese Separate Regiment. This 
powerful force, organized and equipped to the U.S. Army scale, was now 
attached to the 50th. By early March the 50th Division was ready to drive 
south to Hsipaw. 23 

From Myitson, the 36th Division went on to Mongmit, and thence on 
toward Mogok, famous for its ruby mines. It met little opposition as it 
continued south and east, until it was within five miles of Mogok. The 36th 
was now in the area the 36th Division was holding to screen the Japanese 
flank, and fighting flared again. The fight was brief, and as March drew to 
a close the 36th Division stood on the Burma Road at Kyaukme. On 1 
April General Festing and the 36th returned to Fourteenth Army command. 24 

The Burma Campaign Moves Toward a Climax 

While the 36th Division and the rest of NCAC had been wheeling 
ponderously eastward to clear the Burma Road, the British Fourteenth Army 
under General Slim was attempting a series of complex and difficult maneu- 
vers with the aim of destroying the major part of the Japanese Army in 
Burma. For this attempt, Slim would have five divisions, an East African 
brigade, and a tank brigade, grouped as 4 and 33 Corps. Between this force 
and Mandalay were not the Japanese alone but a major mountain chain, the 
Chindwin River, and then the sheer distance of 400 miles from the railhead 
in India to the projected battleground in Burma. The transport aircraft 
would be of the greatest aid in bridging that long gap— but the number of 
available transports was always a matter for concern. The Chindwin River 
flowed down to the vicinity of Mandalay, and was navigable— but ever since 
1942 the river craft had been a prime target for the RAF and AAF and were 
now very scarce. Plainly, brilliance would be required in logistics as well 
as in tactics and strategy. To ease his task, Slim had complete and 
unchallenged air superiority. 

At the end of the long march into Burma there waited the Japanese 13th 

23 History of IBT, II, 323-24. 

24 History of IBT, II, 320. 




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Army, under Lt. Gen. Shihachi Katamura, and a new Japanese commander 
for Burma, General Hoyotaro Kimura. The Japanese had available in the 
Mandalay area four understrength divisions, the 15th, 31st, 33d, and 53d, a 
regiment of nationalist Indians of the Indian National Army, and the prospect 
of reinforcement by the 2d and 49th Divisions, under control of Burma Area 
Army, and the 18th Division of 33d Army. 

Kimura's orders, dating back to October, called for a battle along the 
Irrawaddy River. Operations out of a bridgehead over the Irrawaddy west 
of Mandalay would be used to harry and impede the British and Indian forces 
as they approached the great river; then, as they were astride it, vigorous 
counterattacks would be launched against them. One division, the 15th, 
would be north of Mandalay, and three to the south. As of the date these 
orders were issued the Japanese had still not completed their withdrawal into 
central Burma. The withdrawal was made successfully, in that not until 
December was Fourteenth Army aware that the Japanese planned to make 
their stand along the Irrawaddy rather than, as had been assumed, on the 
outer rim of the central Burmese plain. In December the Japanese some- 
what redefined their plans and put the 53d Division in mobile reserve in the 
vital Meiktila communications and airfield center south of Mandalay. 

When Slim's staff had clear evidence that it would not be possible to 
trap and destroy the Japanese in the central plain west of the Irrawaddy, that 
commander at once altered his plans accordingly. He now determined to 
take advantage of the road net to move the 4 Corps around from the left to 
the right flank of 33 Corps, with the vital exception of the 19th Indian Divi- 
sion, left in place with the hope that the Japanese would think 4 Corps still 
in its sector. The 19th Indian Division was given the further task of cross- 
ing the Irrawaddy above Mandalay to draw Japanese reserves northward — an 
intention which fit well into Kimura's announced policies. Another cross- 
ing of the Irrawaddy was to be made by 33 Corps near Mandalay as a further 
distraction. Then 33 Corps and 4 Corps would make their major efforts 
almost simultaneously, that of 4 Corps being the master stroke. Near 
Pakokku, 4 Corps was to establish a bridgehead, then from it launc h a strong 
armored task force on the road and rail centers south of Mandalay \{Map 72)1 
For the first time in the Burma fighting, the Japanese were to be confronted 
with the concentrated weight of the modern armor-air-artillery team. Pre- 
viously, fighting had been in close jungle country, where armor, though on 
occasion dramatically effective, as at Walawbum in the Hukawng Valley in 
March 1944, was handicapped.-^ The area around Meiktila, dry, barren, roll- 
ing, with a cover of cactus and scraggly palms, was far better suited to armor, 
and Slim proposed to offer Kimura and Katamura new problems to solve. 



25 See Stilivell's Command Problems, 



Ch. IV. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



219 



New air bases, closer to central and south Burma than those in Assam, 
were regarded as essential to support Slim's projected offensive, and 15 Corps 
was directed to take the Akyab airfields. Four divisions were provided. 
Much battered the preceding spring, the Japanese in the Arakan now had but 
the 54th Division plus the equivalent of a regimental combat team. The new 
offensive in the Arakan crossed the line of departure on 12 December. The 
Japanese had previously decided that their regimental combat team in the 
Akyab area should withdraw to central Burma if circumstances warranted it. 
Because the British advance was both powerful and swift, the Japanese on 26 
December decided that the situation in central Burma required the immedi- 
ate withdrawal of their force in the Akyab area and the town fell without a fight 
on 4 January. SEAC was beginning to pluck the fruits of its 1944 victories. 

Meanwhile, the 82d West African Division had been moving southward 
east of the coastal ridge. Fifteen Corps decided on a shore-to-shore am- 
phibious assault southeast and inland from Akyab to cut off the Japanese 
facing the Africans. The chosen site was Myebon, thirty-five miles to east- 
southeast. The initial landing on 12 January went smoothly, but heavy 
fighting developed soon after, in the mangrove swamps and tidal inlets, as the 
25th Indian Division moved up the little Myebon peninsula toward the Japa- 
nese flanks and rear. Myebon once secure, the next targets were Ramree 
Island, as an airfield site, and Kangaw, about ten miles northeast of Myebon, 
and so a grave threat to the Japanese 54th Division as it faced the Africans 
coming down from the north. 

The first landings on Ramree Island were made 21 January by an Indian 
brigade, and in the ensuing fighting the Japanese garrison on 9 February was 
finally forced to "a withdrawal which went badly." In the Arakan fighting 
the Japanese were forced to maneuver across a network of tidal inlets that 
often went many miles inland. Time and again motor gunboats of the Royal 
Navy caught Japanese rafts and native fishing craft in the streams. There 
would be a burst of machine gun and 20- and 40-mm. fire, and a Japanese 
platoon or section would be shattered. 

Kangaw, upstream from Myebon, was assaulted 22 January. The Japanese 
had the better part of two regiments north of Kangaw, and one regiment 
down the coast at Taungup, with strong garrisons at coastal points. The 
Japanese therefore reacted energetically to this landing behind them. In his 
report, Mountbatten compares the resultant fighting to that of Kohima in 
1944, thus rating it as heavy as any in Burma. Beginning 17 February, the 
Japanese withdrew to the east and south along the coastal ridge, and into 
inland hill masses. 

The Arakan coast slants southeast, the coastal inlets go relatively far 
inland, and so geography made it easy to keep herding the Japanese into the 
mountains to the east, toward the African troops coming down from the 



220 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



north. Therefore, 15 Corps decided to send a force ashore at Ru-ywa. From 
Ru-ywa the troops were to move on air supply to the An area, where they 
were to meet the 82d West African Division moving down from the north. 
It was hoped that the 54th Division could be caught between them. The 
landing at Ru-ywa was made on 17 February. The West Africans came 
down punctually from the north and hopes were high; then higher authority 
directed suspension of the operation. 

To date, 15 Corps had been allotted 130 tons a day of air supply. This 
was now reduced to 30 tons a day, because all available resources had to be 
devoted to the central Burma offensive. Reluctantly, 15 Corps suspended 
major operations, and began to withdraw its units to where their support 
would be less difficult. Fighting continued, but with occupation of Akyab 
and Ramree the goals of the campaign had been reached. 26 

Slim Wins the Decisive Battle 

While 15 Corps had been taking the Arakan fields from which the trans- 
ports could move deep into central Burma from Mandalay, 4 and 33 Corps 
had been drawing closer to that city. Almost together, on 7 and 8 January, 
the 19th Indian and British 2d Divisions arrived at Shwebo on the Burma 
Railways line, fifty miles north of Mandalay and twenty miles from the Irra- 
waddy. Covering its south flank with one brigade, the 19th swung east and 
crossed the Irrawaddy with two brigades on 14 January. The Japanese 
thought this was the moment for which they had been waiting and sent the 
15th and 53d Divisions to attack the 19th. They were sure this was 4 Corps, 
and still thought so after the war. The disparity in force was not what 
might be imagined, for the Japanese divisions had but 4,500 men each, and 
the 53d had been weakened by detachments which were, however, ordered 
to rejoin. From 20 January to 20 February the battle around the 19th Indian 
Division's bridgehead went on, costing the 15th Division about 30 percent 
casualties, embroiling Kimura's reserves north of Mandalay, and depleting 
his very small store of medium artillery. The fight was hot and heavy, with 
the Indian troops withstanding every Japanese effort. 

While the Indian troops were distracting the Japanese for precious weeks, 
4 Corps was completing its shift and preparing to swing out around the 
right end of Slim's team. The engineers and mechanics, no less than the 
pilots and aircrews, made the advance possible, for in places along the trails 
through central Burma the dust was three feet deep, a tremendous burden on 
maintenance and road-building personnel. But 33 Corps and 4 Corps pressed 
on with vigor, despite the often desperate resistance of Japanese outposts, and 

26 (1) ALFSEA Record, Ch. VII. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 343-77. (3) 
Japanese Study 132, pp. 18-34. (4) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



221 



by 12 February, the 20th Indian Division, 33 Corps, was ready to cross the 
Irrawaddy at its great bend west of Mandalay. The 20th was in position to 
offer an obvious threat to Mandalay and Slim hoped it would further distract 
the Japanese while the 4 Corps was readying itself for the eastward thrust to 
cut below the main Japanese concentration at Mandalay. On the night of 
12 February the division made its initial crossing, on the boundary between 
the Japanese 3 1st and 33d Divisions. 

That same night 4 Corps crossed over. Further deception was involved 
here, for an East African brigade had moved south along the Irrawaddy's 
west bank as if to menace the great oil fields at Yenangyaung. The ruse 
worked, for 33d Indian Infantry Brigade, 7th Indian Division, crossed the 
Irrawaddy south of Pakokku against some perfunctory machine gun fire. The 
Japanese, using a regiment of the 49th Division under 28th Army command, 
later reacted vigorously against the East Africans, even driving them back up 
the river, but the 33d Indian Infantry Brigade, soon joined by the 89th, was 
not seriously attacked. The 33 Corps was applying such heavy pressure that 
the Japanese troops originally destined for Pakokku could not be moved 
there. 2 " 

The Japanese failure to appreciate the menace created by the 33d's bridge- 
head permitted two mechanized brigades (63d, 48th) of the 17th Indian Divi- 
sion and the 255th Indian Tank Brigade to be concentrated in it, after the 
aircraft necessary to maintain these units had been obtained. 28 On 21 Febru- 
ary the 17th Indian Division and the armor burst out of the bridgehead and 
rushed on Meiktila, moving on a wide front to minimize terrain problems. 

An airfield about twenty-five miles from Meiktila was captured early 26 
February and the third brigade of the 17th, organized on an airtransportable 
basis, prepared to emplane and begin the flight from the rear, several hundred 
miles away. Its fly-in was complete 2 March. As these reinforcements were 
hurrying forward, the task force was deploying around Meiktila. So far it 
had been more than a match for the tag ends and service troops that had 
been in its way, though they had resisted with the accustomed sacrificial 
valor of the Japanese. Meanwhile, 15th Army failed to appreciate the threat 
and was several days reacting. 

Meiktila was garrisoned by a collection of service troops later estimated 
at 3,500, well able to find cover and concealment in the town. Moreover, 
the approaches to the town from the west were channeled between small 
lakes. Despite these obstacles, the Indian infantry and armor had the town 
secure by 4 March, after but three days' fighting. A comparison between the 
siege of Myitkyina and the battle of Meiktila displays the advantages of 
veteran troops under skilled commanders, with adequate artillery, armor, and 

27 (1) Japanese Study 132, p. 16. (2) Japanese Officers' comments on draf t MS. 

28 The complicated question of transport aircraft resources will be discussed ir] Chapter X, [jelow. 



222 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



air support, as against the heterogeneous force from three nations and several 
divisions, with little artillery and no armor, that finally took Myitkyina. 29 

After taking Meiktila, the victors fanned out over the communications 
network of which that town was the hub. In so doing, one armored task 
force met the first evidence of Japanese disorganization. The 168th Regiment, 
49th Division, which had fought in the Shweli and Salween area under 33d 
Army, was marching along in administrative fashion. Taken by surprise, the 
168th was cut to pieces on the road before it could deploy. Even after this 
episode, the Japanese were slow to react, and for some days treated the loss 
of Meiktila as relatively minor. 

While the 17th Indian Division and 255th Tank Brigade were drawing 
up around Meiktila, the troops Slim had put across the Irrawaddy north of 
Mandalay began to reap the rewards of their increasing advantages in strength, 
organization, training, and equipment over the battered Japanese who faced 
them. On 20 February the 19th Indian Division broke out of its bridge- 
head and began moving south. Bypassing strongpoints that could not be 
quickly reduced, it exploited its breakthrough and arrived on the outskirts of 
Mandalay with two brigades on 9 March. The third brigade moved east to 
take Maymyo, the prewar summer capital of Burma in the hills, of more 
importance as a key point on the line of communications to the Japanese 
36th Division. 

Kimura now faced two crises, at Meiktila and Mandalay. He had already 
detached the 18th Division from 33d Army and sent it toward Mandalay. He 
now found Mandalay threatened, Meiktila gone, and the British across the 
Irrawaddy on a wide front. He decided Mandalay was the crucial point and 
did not turn his full attention to Meiktila until mid-March. Actually, the 
decisive battle was that fought out around Meiktila in late March. To wage 
it, Kimura summoned Headquarters, 33d Army, from the Northern Combat 
Area Command front, and attached to it the 18th Division (less one regi- 
ment), the 49th Division (less one regiment) from the delta area of south 
Burma, the remnants of the 33 Division, and a regiment of the 33d. The 
13th Army was left with the 13th, $3d, and 31st Divisions, and the 4th Regi- 
ment of the 2d from the NCAC front. The other two regiments of the 2d 
Division were en route to Indochina because of orders from the highest Japa- 
nese headquarters in southeast Asia, Joint Expeditionary Forces, Southern Regions, 
so the decisive battle was fought without them. 30 

In the region of Mandalay, Slim had the 19th and 20th Indian Divisions 
and the British 2d, which proved enough, but for the situation around 
Meiktila he felt that he needed more troops. These were provided by a 

29 ( 1 ) For a description of the siege of Myitkyina, see Stilwell's Command Problems , | Ch. VI | 
(2) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. 

30 (1) SEATIC Bull 247, pp. 46-47. (2) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



223 



brigade of the 5th Indian Division, landed on Meiktila airfield under Japa- 
nese shell fire. The other two brigades moved from Assam to the battle 
area by truck, arriving there in mid-March. 

The fight around Meiktila was bitter. The Japanese did their very best 
to cut the line of communications from Meiktila west to the bridgehead, and 
succeeded, cutting off the services of supply elements of the 17th Indian Di- 
vision, which had to stay under cover of the 7th Indian Division in the 
bridgehead area. At Meiktila the veteran 18th Division reached the main air- 
strip in a night attack and dug in at its fringe. The Japanese were pushed 
back, but attacked again and succeeded in overrunning the whole field. Air- 
dropping was now necessary to supply the 17th and the armor. But the 
Indian and British troops never faltered, and counterattacked ceaselessly. To 
the north, three of Slim's divisions were tearing apart the Mandalay garrison, 
and to the west, 7th Indian Division was assaulting to open communications 
to Meiktila. 

The battle for Meiktila was decided the night of 28 March when the 
Japanese conceded defeat in the decisive struggle for central Burma. Visit- 
ing the 33d Army headquarters, the chief of staff of Burma Area Army, 
General Tanaka, who had been Stilwell's opponent in north Burma, on his 
own authority ordered the 33d Army to pass to a holding role so that the 
15th Army might withdraw from the Mandalay area. Next day the 17th 
Indian Division was able to report the airstrip cleared, before the changed 
orders issued midnight 29 March could reach the Japanese at the front, and 
on 30 March the 161st Indian Infantry Brigade from the west broke the 
Japanese block on the line of communication to Meiktila. 

The victory in central Burma was Slim's, though there was still hard 
fighting ahead along the Irrawaddy. Henceforth, though Japanese regiments 
and some divisions could keep a fair amount of cohesion, the Japanese com- 
mand in Burma slowly began to disintegrate on the retreat south and west. 
Army headquarters troops found themselves fighting as infantry. Confusion 
and disorganization began to spread through the Japanese rear areas as Slim's 
armored columns, moving ever faster, knifed through them. Thereafter, 
whether or not SEAC would take Rangoon depended primarily on the 
logistical support that could be allotted. 31 

Reinforcements for China Theater 

The logistical support available for Slim's campaigns and the extent to 
which the Chinese Army in India and Mars Task Force would contribute 

51 (1) 36th Div Diary. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B., Sees. 5, 6. (3) ALFSEA Record, 
Chs. VIII, IX. (4) Japanese Study 148, Ch. V. ( 5 ) Japanese Study 134, pp. 99-107. (6) 
Brigadier M. R. Roberts, Golden Arrow (Aldershot, England: Gale and Polden, 1952), Chs. XIX, 
XX. 



224 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Allied Leaders Plan Operations in China and Burma early in 1943. General 
Wedemeyer stands behind (from left to right ) General Sultan, Admiral Mountbatten, 
and Maj. Gen. William J. Donovan. 

further to victory in Burma were problems difficult to assess. The United 
States had long insisted on a Burma campaign to support China. Now when 
that campaign was at its height and British forces were fully involved at the 
end of a tenuous line of communications of which air transport was an in- 
tegral part, events in China made the Chinese Government, Wedemeyer, and 
the Joint Chiefs anxious to move Chinese and American resources from 
Burma to China as quickly as possible. Though procedures had been estab- 
lished to deal with requests for such transfers, 32 these procedures did not 
provide guarantees against an outcome possibly injurious to SEAC's current 
campaign in Burma. So the British Chiefs of Staff sought assurances and 
on 31 January asked that no further transfer of resources from India-Burma- 
China that was unacceptable to SEAC be made without CCS approval. 33 

32 See above ! p. 145. | 

33 CCS 747/7, 31 Jan 45, sub: Allocation of Resources Between IB and CT. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



225 



To this the Joint Chiefs gave an assent so highly qualified as to disturb 
Mountbatten, for they agreed only that the CCS should "discuss" transfer, 
whereas the British had wanted the CCS to control. The JCS based their 
stand on the ground that: "The primary military object of the United States 
in the China and India-Burma Theaters is the continuance of aid to China 
on a scale that will permit the fullest utilization of the area and resources of 
China for operations against the Japanese. United States resources are de- 
ployed in India-Burma to provide direct or indirect support for China." 
Mountbatten was concerned that his resources in transport aircraft might be 
lost to him. 34 

Mountbatten's fears were apparently shared by the British Chiefs of Staff, 
for they suggested to the CCS that there should be no withdrawal of U.S. 
resources from Burma to support China without prior discussion by the CCS, 
lest approved operations in Burma be thereby endangered. The merits of 
this contention were recognized by the Combined Chiefs, who found them- 
selves reluctant to deprive Mountbatten of forces upon which he had counted 
without first examining the issues. They therefore agreed that if the British 
Chiefs of Staff objected to any transfer of U.S. forces from SEAC the matter 
would be referred to the CCS. " 

Meanwhile, in China, Wedemeyer was reaching conclusions that would 
bring forth just the contingency Mountbatten feared. Looking beyond the 
present China situation toward a day when the Allies could seize the initia- 
tive in China, he told the Generalissimo on 5 January that the center of 
strategic gravity should shift east into China rather than south to Rangoon. 
The Generalissimo agreed. Wedemeyer announced that studies would be 
made. A week later he was prepared to recommend that the entire Chinese 
Army in India should return to China. He was not suggesting hasty action 
and pointed out that the United States had urged Britain to take action in 
Burma, that moral obligations to the British were involved. Wedemeyer in 
January-February 1945 hoped to begin concentration for the offensive toward 
Canton-Hong Kong on 1 May. This meant the Chinese would have to 
leave Burma in time to arrive in east China by 1 May. He also looked 
forward to intensified air activity; the Tenth Air Force was the nearest source 
of reinforcements. ' 6 

Meeting with Mountbatten and Sultan at Myitkyina around 16 February, 
Wedemeyer told Mountbatten of his desire to bring all the Chinese troops 

^ (1) CCS 452/37, 1 Feb 45, sub: Opns in SEAC. This paper was approved by the CCS 
and reported to the President and Prime Minister. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 397. 

:!:> Min, Mtg of CCS, 1 Feb 45. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers. Dept 
State Pub 6199, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta. 1945 (Washington, 1955 ). 

u ' (1) Min, Mtg 27, Wedemeyer With Generalissimo, 5 Jan 45; Mtg 28, 13 Jan 45. Bk 1, 
Generalissimo Minutes. (2 ) Rad CFB 32476, Wedemeyer to MacArthur and Nimitz, info Mar- 
shall, 5 Feb 45. Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File. 



226 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



back to China. Mountbatten, anxious to complete the Burma campaign and 
with the fight for Mandalay still under way, not unnaturally opposed the 
suggestion. Sultan, however, was reported to have agreed that after Lashio 
was taken it would be possible to move the Chinese Army in India back to 
the homeland and to rely upon two or three Y-Force divisions to protect the 
Burma Road and pipeline. 37 

For his part, Mountbatten may have decided that the Combined Chiefs 
would keep the Chinese divisions in Burma long enough to permit a suc- 
cessful conclusion of the campaign, for he directed his planners and com- 
manders in chief to consider the aggressive exploitation of Slim's successes 
around Mandalay. Assuming they would be able to use the Chinese Army 
in India, the SEAC staffs began to weigh the possibility of taking Rangoon 
by 1 June. If they decided this was possible, they had to determine whether 
it would be better to take it by overland attack from the north after capture 
of Mandalay, or by amphibious assault, thus reviving Operation Dracula. 

Mountbatten further directed that an attack be made on the Isthmus of 
Kra of the Malay Peninsula by June and as soon as possible after Rangoon 
was taken and its port back in operation. On 23 February Mountbatten and 
his senior commanders and staff took what appeared the determining 
decisions — to seize Rangoon by overland assault, and use the amphibious 
resources thus freed for an attack on the Isthmus of Kra, by 1 June if 
possible. 38 

That same day, 23 February, brought the message that Mountbatten must 
have anticipated with concern, a radio from Sultan warning that China 
Theater was about to ask that all U.S. and Chinese forces in north Burma— 
Mars Task Force and three Chinese divisions — be sent to China. Shortly 
after, Wedemeyer stated that he needed Mars Task Force immediately, and 
requested one regiment by 10 March and the other by 1 April. 39 

Lashio and the Reinforcement Problem 

This request focused new attention on the drive for Lashio, because it had 
been agreed that Lashio's capture, which would place a wide belt of liberated 
territory south of the ground line of communications across north Burma, 
would mark the end of Phase II of Capital. After the Japanese broke con- 
tact with Mars Task Force it had been pulled back into reserve and Sultan 
ordered the Chinese New First Army to move southwest down the Burma 
Road and take Lashio. The Chinese 50th Division was directed to move 

37 Min, Mtg 30, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 19 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

38 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 398-408. 

39 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 446. 



VICTORY IN BURMA FREES TROOPS FOR CHINA 



227 



south from Namtu, take Hsipaw, and establish itself across the Burma Road. 
The hope w as that the 50th w ould be the anvil for the hammer of the New 



First Army. | (See Map 11.) 



Between the Chinese positions in the Hosi-Namhpakka area and Lashio 
the two principal towns are Kutkai and Hsenwi. Kutkai fell without a 
fight, the Chinese finding there prepared positions abandoned by the Japa- 
nese. Four miles north of Hsenwi came that rarity in Burma, a fight be- 
tween armored units. These were Chinese tanks of the First Provisional 
Tank Group, now back in the fight since the campaign was moving out of 
the jungles, and a Japanese armored column. The heavier Chinese armor 
won the day, and Hsenwi was taken 19 February. 

Around Lashio itself the Kachin Rangers of OSS Detachment 101 had 
been most active, harassing the Japanese and directing the Tenth Air Force 
on to profitable targets. With their growing strength and increasing Japa- 
nese weakness they were becoming strong enough to try open warfare. On 
26 February four Kachin companies held a hilltop overlooking the road be- 
tween Hsenwi and Lashio against an estimated 500 Japanese. Not till the 
following day did the Rangers withdraw, feeling that they had inflicted heavy 
casualties at light cost. 

By this time, the 5 6th Division, now in independent command of this 
sector, was concerned only with delaying action and placed no strong ob- 
stacles before the Chinese 38th Division. Old Lashio, the prewar settlement, 
and the suburb of New Lashio, which had been born of Burma Road traffic 
before 1942, were occupied by the Chinese over 6 and 7 March. The ques- 
tion of the next mission for the Chinese Army in India now became acute. 40 
Mountbatten feared that if more Chinese troops were withdrawn from 
Burma it might not be possible to take Rangoon before the monsoon rains 
began. Capture of Rangoon's harbor facilities was essential if Slim's troops 
were to be supported in Burma. Otherwise the monsoon, whose rains would 
turn the roads east of Imphal into quagmires, would find Slim's six divisions 
and two tank brigades dependent on an airlift at almost the maximum range 
of the transports. This was an unpleasant prospect, so Mountbatten went to 
Chungking on 8 March for two days of conference with the Generalissimo. 41 
When the conference of 9 March concluded, the Generalissimo, accord- 
ing to the American minutes, said that he would recapitulate. In so doing, 
he remarked that the details of withdrawal would be settled later and that 
no final decisions would be made before General Wedemeyer was able to take 
part in them. Then he stated that unless there was a simultaneous amphibi- 
ous attack on Rangoon, operations would stop at Lashio and Mandalay and 



40 History of IBT, II, 316-18. 

41 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, Par. 448. 



228 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



the Allies would assume the defensive. The Chinese would stop at Lashio, 
but details of their operations between Lashio and Mandalay would be settled 
later between the staffs. And he took note of Mountbatten's statement that 
the Chinese would not be asked to go south of Mandalay. 42 

That the Generalissimo should include in his recapitulation points to 
which SEAC was unalterably opposed, such as stopping operations at Manda- 
lay, suggests that the conference did not clarify matters. The exchange 
of radios which soon followed showed that in fact there had been no more 
than an exchange of views. 

It soon became apparent that Mountbatten did not want to use the 
Chinese south of Mandalay, but he did not believe that their actual with- 
drawal would be on any date set by the conferences but rather would be de- 
termined by the course of the battle. The Chinese, on the other hand, did 
not want their troops to take on further obligations once they had entered 
the Lashio-Hsipaw area. 

The misunderstanding became quite apparent in mid-March when General 
Sultan, under whose command the Chinese were, received conflicting orders. 
In mid-March it was apparent that the 38th and 30th Divisions coming down 
the Burma Road were about to link with the Chinese 50th Division moving 
southeast, that Hsipaw would soon be taken. Therefore, SEAC ordered 
Sultan to move his forces southwestward toward Mandalay, while the Gen- 
eralissimo directed that the Chinese divisions stay in the Lashio area. 

As a compromise and to avoid having the Chinese wait idly around 
Lashio, Sultan suggested that a smaller task force be directed to proceed 
south. But the Generalissimo and his American advisers stood firm, lest the 
shift of troops to China be delayed. This in turn caused the British to be- 
lieve that if the Chinese were not going to advance they should be with- 
drawn forthwith and end the burden on the line of communications. 
Behind this attitude lay the fact that as of 20 March the fight for Mandalay 
was obviously a British victory. However, the trend toward a speedy de- 
parture of the Chinese did not lead to rigidity on either side; later in March 
it was agreed the Chinese would advance westward from Hsipaw along the 
Lashio-Mandalay rail line to take the town of Kyaukme. Kyaukme taken, 
SEAC requested a further advance, but here the Generalissimo had, it 
developed, made his final concession. 

While these high-level discussions had been taking place, the New First 
Army from Lashio and the 50th Division from Namtu had been steadily ad- 
vancing. By 13 March the 50th was moving on Hsipaw. Curiously, the 
Japanese yielded Hsipaw without a fight, then counterattacked bitterly on 17, 
18, 19, and 20 March. The Chinese held, then, sending one regiment south 

42 Min, American Mtg Held in Generalissimo's Presidential Residence in the Country, 1015, 
9 Mar 45. OCMH. 



230 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



and dispatching another one northward up the Burma Road to assist the 
Chinese 38th Division driving south, from a point sixty miles away. The 
38th on occasion met fierce resistance coming down the road, but the Japa- 
nese had no intention of being caught between the 38th and tne 50th when 
they could so easily sideslip away to the south. On 24 March, seven miles 
east of Hsipaw, the two divisions met, and the whole of the Burma Road 
from Hsipaw to Kunming was in Chinese hands. 43 

Sultan believed that this was the final move, and so he recommended 
that the Chinese be moved back to the Myitkyina area, save only those troops 
needed to guard the Lashio-Hsipaw area. At Myitkyina they would be easier 
to supply until the time came to move them to China. The Chinese were 
moved back accordingly and plans made to have them in China by 1 July, 
the move beginning on 1 June. 44 

The Mars Task Force was first to move to China. In the discussions on 
the employment of the Chinese in Burma, Sultan had observed that Mars 
made far heavier demands on air supply than would an equivalent number of 
Chinese troops. For that reason he doubted whether he could afford to use 
them to pursue the Japanese. Therefore, on 11 March, Mountbatten ordered 
that one Mars regiment be released at once for China service, and the rest 
of the force on 1 April. The move began 14 March and was completed 14 
May. 45 

Therefore, as a result of the victories in Burma, Wedemeyer's position in 
China was soon to be bolstered by powerful reinforcements. Two good di- 
visions had been moved to China; three more were to come. The Mars 
Task Force would provide a very welcome source of experienced U.S. 
personnel. 

43 History of IBT, II, 324-25. 

44 History of IBT, II, 327-32. 

45 (1) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, par. 452. (2) NCAC History, III, 324. 



CHAPTER VIII 



Finding a Way To Advise and Assist 

Since the Japanese forces that threatened Kunming in December 1944 had 
not been part of a Japanese design to take that city, the American arrange- 
ments to defend it had not been subjected to the test of battle. Such a test 
in December would have fallen on Chinese troops which lack of time had 
prevented Wedemeyer from improving and about whose quality, save for the 
14th and 22d Divisions, he had the most serious doubts. But the storm 
passed by. So there was to be a chance to reorganize and train thirty-six 
Chinese divisions, and give them some measure of logistical support. 

Making Liaison Effective 

Among the directives that Wedemeyer issued to his major U.S. commands 
in mid-December was an interim directive to the officers who were to work 
with the Chinese Alpha forces. 1 It ordered them to advise the Chinese and 
also keep theater headquarters promptly informed of the local situation. The 
problem lay in making this intention operative in the face of Chinese prac- 
tices and attitudes that had created difficulties in the past. 

Believing he had to have some assurance that the Chinese commander 
would accept advice once it had been offered, and being anxious to avoid 
what he described as "polite agreement and Chinese niceties followed by 
vacillation or no agreement," Wedemeyer told the War Department on 1 
January 1945 he had arranged a liaison system with the Chinese to which the 
Generalissimo had agreed. 2 Wedemeyer planned ultimately to have a U.S. 
officer advising every Chinese Alpha force commander from the regiment 
right up through army and group army headquarters to General Ho Ying- 
chin himself. If a Chinese commander were to refuse to accept the sugges- 
tions offered by the American working with him, the matter would be referred 



1 See |Ch. V\| above. 

2 Quotation from radiogram CFB 30283, 1 January 1945. This radio was probably addressed 
primarily to Lt. Gen. John E. Hull of the Operations Division, War Department, with whom 
Wedemeyer often corresponded. 



232 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

Table 2— Comparison of Japanese and Chinese Division Firepower 



Alpha 

Division 
table of 
equipment 



Old Chinese 

table of 
equipment 



Rifles 

Light machine gun . 
Heavy machine gun 

60-mm. mortar 

82-mm. mortar 

37-mm. AT gun . . . . 
Infantry cannon. . . . 
Grenade discharger. 



6, 103 
334 
72 
162 
36 
24 
none 



400 
212 
70 
97 
22 
14 



( e ) 



" The Japanese freely modified their tables of organization and equipment to meet local situations but it can be assumed 
that the Japanese three-regiment or triangular infantry division would probably not depart significantly- from the above. 

6 Trench mortars were not organic to the Japanese infantry division unless used to replace the 70-mm. battalion gun, 
in which case 36 81-mm. mortars would substitute for 18 battalion guns. 

c Chinese divisions were known to have some grenade dischargers, either captured or locally made. The number would 
vary, depending on the preference of the division commander and the past successes of his unit in obtaining this weapon. 

Source: Data on the Chinese forces from Staff Study 11, Theater Planning Sec, 24 Mar 45. USFCT Files, DRB AGO. 
Data on the Japanese forces from TM-E 3U-480, Handbook on Japanese Military Forres. OCMH. 



in twenty-four hours to their respective superiors, Chinese and American. 
Ultimately, if the matter could not be resolved, it would end up before the 
Generalissimo and Wedemeyer. In effect, as Wedemeyer clearly recognized 
and intended, he and his staff would exercise operational control in the Gen- 
t eralissimo's name. "Any Chinese commander who continually fails to follow 
the well considered advice of his U.S. advisor will be replaced or have U.S. 
assistance withdrawn from his unit." 3 

Wedemeyer sketched his hopes and beliefs about the thirty-six divisions. 
He wanted them to be equipped and maintained as were the divisions in the 
Chinese Army in India, with better pay and better food than they currently 
had. "I have emphasized that if we could create 36 well-trained, well-fed, 
and well-led divisions we could recover the vital airfields recently lost in 
Central [sic] China. At the present time China's resources, money, food, and 
equipment (all of which are limited) are being further dissipated by an at- 
tempt to maintain the semblance of 300 to 400 divisions. I pointed out to 
the Generalissimo that we require quality not quantity. He appears to be in 
complete accord." 

The concept underlying the structure of the U.S. -sponsored Chinese 
division was that, with its 10,000 men and battalion of artillery, it would be 
more than a match for a Japanese regiment. The Chinese army, with 30,000 
men, three battalions of 75-mm. pack howitzers, and one battalion of 105-mm. 



3 Opnl Dir 5, Hq USFCT to CG CCC, 15 Feb 45, par. 3B. KCRC. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



233 



howitzers, was more near ly comparable to the division as understood in 
Western armies. | Table 2 " is illustrative only. 

Wedemeyer commented on the quality of Chinese officers as they had ap- 
peared to him: "incapable, inept, untrained, petty . . . altogether inefficient." 
By, as he wrote, "superimposing" his liaison system on the Alpha divisions 
Wedemeyer thought he had the only way to obtain effective employment of 
the Chinese in the war. 4 

The new organization, foreshadowed and explained by Wedemeyer's 
1 January 1945 radio to the War Department, was activated a week later. 
The two-months old Chinese Training and Combat Command was now split 
in two, with the cleavage along the line that separates training and operations. 

In its stead were set up a Chinese Combat Command (CCC) and a 
Chinese Training Center. The center, at Kunming, consisted of Head- 
quarters, Chinese Training Center, and, under its command, a General Staff 
School, Infantry Training Center, Field Artillery Training Center, Automo- 
tive School for Drivers and Mechanics, and a Chinese Ordnance Training 
Center. Its mission was to supervise and conduct schools, and to prepare 
and distribute training literature, programs, and training aids. The Ameri- 
cans were most anxious to have as many Chinese senior officers as possible 
receive staff training because they believed that in many cases the senior 
Chinese were not as well qualified as were the junior officers. Unit training 
and troop schools were to be conducted in the field by the new Chinese 
Combat Command. 

The proposed Chinese Combat Command was described by General 
McClure at a commanders' conference 3 January. Briefly, it comprised the 
U.S. liaison personnel with the 36 divisions, plus headquarters personnel. 
During the time of preparation for battle, its program included training, 
equipping, and giving supplemental pay and rations to 36 divisions of 10,000 
men each, with service troops — some 500,000 men. Later the number might 
be expanded to 50 divisions. In addition, there would be 30 so-called com- 
mando units of 150 to 200 Chinese officered and trained by Americans. 

When combat began, the Americans would ensure effective leadership. 
"The Chinese chain of combat command will come down from supreme 
headquarters through General Ho Ying-chin to divisions in the field where 
the Chinese senior officers will be in command with the Americans exercis- 
ing a field command only through the Chinese with whom they are asso- 
ciated." McClure pointed out that the only means the Americans had to 
make their control effective was "the denial of weapons and essential equip- 
ment to those groups who do not cooperate with us." 



4 (l)Rad cited n. 2. (2) Brig. Gen. Paul W. Caraway, in reviewing the draft manuscript in 
October 1956, commented that General Wedemeyer "did not see or have contact with many jun- 
ior {Chinese] officers. " Caraway comments on draft MS. OCMH. 



234 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Chinese Senior Officers attend a chemical warfare demonstration at Kunming. 

The Americans working directly with the thirty-six divisions would be 
organized into two major groupings, those assigned to the CCC and the 
service troops under General Cheves of the SOS. The liaison sections of the 
Chinese Combat Command were to be attached to each of the major Chinese 
area commands that would be set up under General Ho. The several senior 
U.S. officers in turn would command a pyramid of U.S. liaison personnel 
down to division level. For the time being, since personnel strengths were 
so low, U.S. liaison officers and men would not have fixed attachments at the 
regimental level. The Americans were to be picked from different arms and 
services so that qualified technicians organized as Ordnance, Quartermaster, 
Surgical, and Signal Sections would be present to help the Chinese. 

The SOS, under General Cheves, would control all supply and transport 
facilities for the thirty-six divisions and CCC. When McClure spoke, this 
system was in the planning phase, but on 9 February it became a reality as 
Cheves took charge of the Chinese Services of Supply for the thirty-six divi- 
sions. The basic plan contemplated that the American technical service 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



235 



officers would forward requisitions either through command channels or di- 
rect to SOS, as might later be agreed. SOS would be responsible for pro- 
curement and delivery. At this time McClure understood that Cheves 
planned to deliver to the Chinese division dump. There the American G-4 
of the division liaison team would become responsible for delivering supplies 
to the individual Chinese soldier. 

Linking these activities would be a series of radio nets joining the radio 
teams that were integral parts of the liaison sections. At the top of the 
pyramid would be a high-level net joining General McClure, Commanding 
General, CCC, at Kunming or in the field, General Ho at Kunming, and 
Chungking. Kunming in turn would operate in a net that would include 
liaison sections with all group armies. Group armies would be netted with 
subordinate army liaison sections, which in turn would be netted with divi- 
sion liaison sections. Within divisions, a mobile radio team was to operate 
behind the lines. 

To anticipate, it may be noted that when the liaison teams, or "U.S. com- 
bat sections" as they were officially called, took the field, each, regardless of 
the level at which it operated, had a Table of Organization strength of about 
25 officers and 50 enlisted men. Thus, some 4,000 Americans were to assist 
the headquarters of 4 Chinese group armies, 12 armies, and 36 divisions 
(though personnel shortages kept the final total to 3,147). In addition, to 
each combat section there was to be attached an air-ground liaison section of 
2 officers and 4 enlisted men, which would also operate a separate and parallel 
radio net to control the allotted air support." 

Chinese Combat Command headquarters on being activated further spec- 
ified the reports it wanted from the field. In years past, the Chinese had 
been reluctant to let American Army liaison teams go out into the field. 
Detailed, accurate knowledge of the Chinese Army was correspondingly lack- 
ing, while the Americans hesitated to accept Chinese War Ministry statistics 
and communiques at face value. The U.S. liaison teams were now directed 
to keep a stream of statistical data, strength reports, personnel data, training 
reports, and situation reports flowing up the chain of command to Chinese 
Combat Command and theater headquarters. As the months went by, these 
reports would create the most complete sort of picture of the Alpha forces 
and would give data on which sound policy recommendations could be 
based. 6 

5 (1) Conf Notes, Off CG CT&CC CT, 3 Jan 45. AG 337 Misc Folder, Meetings 1944 to 
30 Aug 45, CT Files, Box BA 51513, KCRC. (2) Ltr O, Wedemeyer to all officers CCC, 
18 Feb 45, sub: Ltr of Instruction to All U.S. Officers Serving With the CCC. OCMH. (3) Ltr, 
Wedemeyer to CO Chinese Training Center, 26 Jan 45, sub: Organization and Mission of Chinese 
Training Center. OCMH. (4) Strength figures on CCC from Ltr, Col Raymond W. McNamee, 
ACofS G-3, Hq USFCT, to CofS Hq USFCT, 14 Aug 45, sub: Plan for Liaison Personnel with 
Occupying Forces. OCMH. 

6 Memos, Gen McClure, CG CCC, 17 Feb 45, 9 Jul 45, for all Sector Comdrs, sub: Rpts. 
AG (CCC) 319.1, KCRC. 



236 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

On 25 January Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo he was sending Gen- 
eral McClure, his own chief of staff and deputy U.S. chief of staff to Chiang 
Kai-shek, to Kunming to take over the Chinese Combat Command, as he 
was not satisfied with its progress to that date. Wedemeyer thought that 
some of the men who had been Stilwell's aides showed the strain of their 
years in Asia and, in this case, McClure succeeded the veteran Dorn. Wede- 
meyer was now also contemplating a change in the air force organization by 
bringing in the Tenth Air Force to join the Fourteenth, the Fourteenth to be 
a strategic air force, the Tenth to have a tactical role, and Lt. Gen. George 
E. Stratemeyer from India-Burma Theater to command both. 7 

Shortly after McClure took command, the Chinese forces assigned to 
Alpha were divided among six area commands, in a sort of great circle 
around the vital Kunming area. 8 This was a radical departure from the old 
system of dividing all China among a few vast war areas under semi-inde - 
pendent commanders. On 29 January General Ho presented his proposals 
for organizing his troops on the new basis. Accepting Wedemeyer's views, 
Ho suggested the creation of an offensive force of 36 divisions and a defen- 



sive force of 9 divisions. | ( Chart 4) The first would be organized under the 
November 1944 tables which would give each of the divisions about two- 
thirds of the fire power of a Class A Japanese division. The defensive force 
would follow the old Y-Force Table of Organization. In previous confer- 
ences the Americans had been quite clear in stating that they could equip 
only thirty-six divisions; Ho's plan finally accepted this. Ho's plan went to 
the Generalissimo's headquarters where it was approved, and went into oper- 
ation in February with only minor changes in troop assignments and deploy- 
ments. 9 With the Generalissimo's approval, the Chinese Combat Command's 
officers in the field were authorized to proceed with the thirty-six-division 
plan. 

The Chinese Training Center, Col. John Middleton commanding, en- 
countered problems in beginning its work, for Chinese students were slow in 
appearing. On 6 March McClure told the Chinese officers of Ho's headquar- 
ters, with whom CCC's staff now met regularly, that the Chinese Training 
Center's Command and General Staff and Infantry Schools were ready to go 
but had no Chinese students. In reply, General Hsiao I-hsu, who had been 
General Wei Li-huang's chief of staff on the Salween front, stated that the 



7 (1) Min, Mtg 33, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 25 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Min- 
utes. (2) L tr, Wede meyer to Hull, 29 Jan 45. Case 37, OPD 381 (TS), Sec II. 

8 See pp. |264-69J below, for detailed description. 

9 (1) Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, 15 Jan-3 Feb 45. AG 
(CCC) 337.1, KCRC. (2) Rad CFB 32878, Wedemeyer to McClure, 11 Feb 45, Item 393, 
ACW Personal File, says formal approval will be sent. 



Chart 4— Chinese Alpha Forces: 36-Dr vision Forck 



w. 



L 



2d 

Army 



Centm! Command 



Eastern Command 







53d 
Army 



5th 
Army 



New 
6th 

Army 



0th 

Army 



54th 

Army 



73d 

Army 



Aimy 



71 it 
Army 



94! h 
Arniy 



74th 
Aimy 



18th 

Army 



■ 9th 


-11 6th 


-45th 


m 1 4th 


. 166th 


-198th 


»15th 


-4 th 


-S7th 


L 5 i h 




» 11th 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


[;■,, 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


-76ih 


»1 30th 


-961 h 


L 22d 


-103d 


-36th 


ft 71lh 




■ B8th 


. 43d 


- 57th 


- 11 8th 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Opv 


Div 


Diw 


.2d Res 


-Hon 2d 


-200th 


- 207lh 


- Hon Isl 


-8th 


- 193d 


- 89th 


- 91 if 


- 121*1 


- 58th 


- 18!h 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 


Div 



'After the leitrrn of the New First Army (30ih, 36th, and 50lh Divmons) in June 1945, China 
Theotei used the term 39-Division or Chinese Army Piogrom (CAP) m plans ond ^reporot.ons for 
the BETA Operation. 



238 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Chinese had been so busy reorganizing that they could not yet send students, 
but hoped to have them there by mid -April. 10 

Working Out the Thirty-six-Division Plan 

The details of Ho's plan had taken some days to work out, for they in- 
volved the question of priorities in distributing equipment among the divi- 
sions under Ho's command. Who was to get what supplies in what order? 
When the thirty-six-division scheme began to get under way, McClure stated 
on 31 January that the United States had in China four complete division 
sets with enough infantry weapons for ten more divisions to start training. 
For the future, complete equipment for the thirty-six divisions was to be 
flown over the Hump by 1 September 1945. Arms shipments had to be 
meshed with General Chennault's needs; the Fourteenth Air Force had its 
daily requirements that had to be met. 

To take care of the fact that all equipment would not be on hand at once, 
Wedemeyer had ordered that twenty Alpha divisions, plus five returning 
from Burma, would be completely equipped first. That done, the next flow 
of equipment would be allocated among the remaining eleven Alpha divi- 
sions. Fitting his plans to this, Ho began setting his own priorities. In 
them he seems to have accepted two principles: first, to equip six divisions 
on the natural avenues of approach to Kunming and Chungking, like the 
Kweiyang and Chihchiang areas; second, to equip two divisions of each army 
first. The remaining division could borrow and train with this equipment, 
but Ho decided it should not be spread out within the army. 

Ho's plan called for first priority in equipping the 13th Army (two divi- 
sions); the 94th (one division); the 8th Army (two divisions); the 18th 
Army (one division). In the next group, the 94th, and 18th Armies would 
each get another division set, and the 5 th, 54th, and 74th Armies would get 
two division sets. McClure's comments in the staff meetings that shaped 
these plans made it plain that infantry weapons would receive first priority, 
in shipment and issue. 11 

The emphasis McClure placed on infantry weapons implied that he was 
willing to defer organization of artillery battalions for some time. Indeed, 
he so stated on 12 February, and added that the artillery problem could be 
postponed for two months. The artillery component of the Alpha forces 
was to comprise 12 battalions of 105-mm. howitzers divided among the 12 
armies, 1 battalion of 75-mm. pack howitzers for each division, and 3 bat- 

10 Min, Combined Staff Mtg Between Chinese and American Hq, 6 Mar 45. AG (CCC) 
337.1, KCRC. 

11 Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, 31 Jan-26 Feb 45. AG 
(CCC) 337.1, KCRC. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



239 




Chinese Artillerymen demonstrating how to pack a 75-mm. MlAl pack howitzer 
for transport. 

talions of 155-mm. howitzers and 192 4.2-inch mortars for Supreme Head- 
quarters reserve. The modesty of the level of artillery support was more ap- 
parent than real, for the 4.2-inch mortars would be a powerful reinforcement. 12 
The Americans did not know it, but the above would have about equaled 
what the Japanese had. 

The Japanese artillery in China had never been strong. Only the elite 
divisions had cannon. Essentially, the Japanese had depended upon their 
hardy infantry to garrison north China and watch the Nationalist forces. In 
1944 their reinforcement program had brought 8 more battalions of artillery 
to China. Their postwar accounts, which list 3 Class A divisions, 5 Class 
B divisions, 11 independent mixed brigades, plus army artillery, would indi- 
cate that China Expeditionary Army had the equivalent of 50 battalions of 

12 Min, Combined Staff Mtgs Between Chinese and American Hq, Mtg 17, 19 Feb 45 AG 
(CCC) 337.1, KCRC. 



240 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



field artillery. If, then, the new Chinese Alpha battalions were added to the 
Chinese' own stores of several hundred artillery pieces, the weight of metal 
would, on completion of the Alpha program, be about equal. 13 

Substantial progress had already been made in creating Chinese artillery 
battalions armed with U.S. 75-mm. pack howitzers. Since most roads in the 
southeast Chinese provinces were little more than narrow paths between the 
rice paddies, surefooted mules carrying pack howitzers gave the best com- 
bination of fire power and mobility; this weapon was preferred for division 
artillery. On 28 February General Hsiao reported to the Chinese and Amer- 
ican staffs working on the Alpha divisions that 25 pack artillery battalions 
were ready for assignment to the 36 divisions. Equipment for 32 battalions 
had been received, and 4 more sets were on the way. General Hsiao 
accounted for the difference between 32 and 25 by remarking that the 31st 
and 4th Armies had lost all their howitzers in the 1944 East China campaign, 
that the 46th Army had lost all but 4 pieces, and that 1 more battalion had 
been lost in action. 14 

The Alpha divisions would soon have the benefit of logistical support 
from a revitalized Chinese supply system. The December 1944 directive to 
Cheves's American SOS had given him those responsibilities. Preliminary 
negotiations on Cheves's part took some weeks. The final solution was that 
Cheves was to be given the rank of a lieutenant general in the Chinese Army, 
and the post of commanding general of the Chinese Services of Supply as- 
signed to Ho's Alpha forces. As such, he was to supervise all ammunition, 
food, clothing, bedding, and pay of these troops. Though Wedemeyer con- 
sistently refused to exercise formal command over Chinese troops, for he 
understood President Roosevelt's policy was opposed to it, and though 
Wedemeyer had refused to let General Chennault accept an appointment 
from the Generalissimo to command the Chinese Air Force, he was willing 
to let Cheves head the Alpha SOS forces, on the ground that, as it was a 
staff appointment, Cheves would be issuing his orders "by command of Gen- 
eral Ho Ying-chin." 15 

13 (1) An estimate of China's artillery resources is given in Stilwell's Mission to Chinc K~pp 234-1 
35. (2) Ltr, Col Murphy, Chief Mil Hist Sec FECOM, to Gen Ward, 18 Nov 5 2, and Incl, 
Chart 1. OCMH. (3) The Japanese Order of Battle Bulletins, published for this period by the 
Military Intelligence Division, War Department, show no awareness of the 15 or so Class C divi- 
sions without artillery. (4) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. The Japanese claim to 
have had little ammunition. 

14 (1) Min, Combined Staff Mtg 21, 28 Feb 45. AG (CCC) 337.1. KCRC. (2) General 
Dorn reported to McClure on 1 1 December 1944 that of 72 75-mm. howitzers sent to the Kweilin- 
Heng-yang area, 62 were lost with most of the ammunition sent. Some of the pieces lost at 
Kweilin were still in their shipping cases. Memo, Dorn for McClure. 1 1 Dec 44. AG (CCC) 
381, Folder A. KCRC. 

n Min, Combined Staff Mtg. 31 Jan 45. 1 Feb 45. AG (CCC) 337.1. KCRC. (2) Rad CFB 
28804, Generalissimo to Chennault, 9 Dec 44. Item 163, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. (3) Min, 
Mtg 18, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 12 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Rad 
CFB 28962, Wedemeyer to Chennault, 12 Dec 44. Item 169, Bk 1, ACW Personal File. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



241 



Cheves and the Chinese proceeded to organize a Headquarters, Services of 
Supply, Southwest District, attached to Supreme Headquarters, Chinese 
Ground Forces (General Ho), Kunming. Under the Chinese SOS were 
seven area commands, each of which, in a complete departure from past 
Chinese practice, was put under command of the Chinese general command- 
ing the combat forces in that area. Previously, the Chinese SOS had been 
independent. Under these area commands were set up branch SOS com- 
mands, one for each Chinese army. The Chinese depot system was to be 
reorganized to match the new area system. General depots were to be or- 
ganized under Cheves's command. The Chinese area commanders were to 
command the intermediate depots, and the army commanders, the branch 
headquarters serving that particular army. 

The truckheads in the army area were to be the end of the SOS respon- 
sibility. There the using agencies were to take delivery, under supervision of 
the Chinese Combat Command. As in the American service, the impetus of 
supply was to be from rear to front, to end the existing Chinese practices of 
cash allotments and foraging. 16 

While the new SOS organization and the basic plan for thirty-six divi- 
sions were taking shape, Wedemeyer and his subordinates also applied them- 
selves to solving some of the basic problems of the Alpha divisions. It was 
not necessary to wait on formal approval of every detail of the Alpha plan 
to begin work on, for example, the ration question, and Alpha would never 
work unless the questions were at least partly answered. 

Food for the ALPHA Soldiers 

By December 1944 Wedemeyer had, according to his chief of staff, Gen- 
eral McClure, concluded that food was the most important Chinese military 
problem, and on 6 December had offered the Generalissimo a comprehensive 
plan to improve the soldier's dietary. 17 That the Chinese soldier needed a 
better diet had long been apparent to students of Chinese military affairs. 
The Alpha plan would not work unless the soldiers had the strength to 
march and fight. 

In September 1944 General Joseph W. Stilwell had arranged for the War 
Department to send Col. Paul P. Logan, Deputy Director of the Subsistence 
Division, Office of the Quartermaster General, to China to study the prob- 
lem of feeding the Chinese soldier. 18 Logan's studies formed the basis for 
one of Wedemeyer's most considerable achievements. 

16 SO S USFC T History, OCMH. 

17 See |Ch. IT J above. 

18 Memo, Logan for Wedemeyer, 20 Jan 45, sub: Rpt on Nutritional Status and Requirements 
of Chinese Troops . . . , par. 1. OCMH. (Hereafter, Logan Report.) Logan received his 
orders on 15 September 1944. 



242 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The basic Chinese ration system, when Logan arrived to begin his work 
and when Wedemeyer made his representations to the Generalissimo, was for 
the Chinese Army to issue rice and salt to its soldiers, plus a monetary allow- 
ance to supplement this ration. Garrison troops were issued CN$ 190 and 
troops in the field CN$ 240 a month. 19 This monetary supplement would 
buy about one pound of pork. Not only was the supplement inadequate but 
in the opinion of the Americans "in too many cases the soldier never got the 
food it might buy, or if he was lucky a small part of it. The money had to 
pass through too many hands for much to reach the soldier or to be spent 
for his food." 20 

In describing the impact of this system on the Chinese Army, American 

officers working with the Chinese SOS reported: 

One of the first things that strikes the eye of an American in China is the physical 
condition of the troops dragging along the streets and highways. Their clothes are old, 
patched, and tattered, but far worse is their physical condition. Obviously they are suf- 
fering from every sort of disease and are just able to walk. Occasional stretchers carry 
those too weak to make even an attempt to walk. It is not unusual to see the occupants 
of the litters dumped by the road either dead or soon to die. . . . The worst groups are 
the replacements. . . . 

A later paragraph pictured a Replacement Depot near Kunming as the 
American officers and enlisted men of Ration Purchasing Commission No. 3 
found it in June 1945 : 

A start toward feeding the replacements was made at the Replacement Depot at 
Hilanpo near Kunming. On investigation conditions proved horrible beyond imagina- 
tion. The Depot had an overhead of 4,400. There were supposed to be 4,400 replace- 
ments, actually there were 2,000. One hundred per cent were suffering from malnutrition, 
T.B., and other diseases, but no medical care was being given. With an overhead of 4,400 
the seriously sick replacements had to cook for themselves in kitchens which were im- 
mediately adjacent to latrines. About one blanket was provided for each three men. The 
dead were lying next to the barely living and left there at times for several days. Many 
replacements were unable even to eat the rice and should have had special therapeutic diet. 

This was a problem for the medics but since no one was doing anything about it R.P.C. 
No. 3 went to work. . . . Singlehanded the Americans made an impressive improvement 
in the situation. However, how lasting this improvement will be may be judged from 
the fact that after the Americans left the vitamin pills provided for the patients which 
were in good condition [sic] were declared "poisonous" and condemned. 21 

As Colonel Logan neared the completion of his surveys as to the needs of 
the soldiers and the availability of food for them, Wedemeyer's representa- 
tions began to bring a response from the Chinese. The vice-commander of 

19 Chinese National currency used the decimal system and a dollar unit of value. 

20 Rpt, Food Dept, Hq SOS, Supreme Hq, Chinese Army, Supplemental Food Section History, 
9 Oct 45, par. 3b. OCMH. *The report was prepared by U.S. personnel under Col. Charles F. 
Kearney, who was Chief QM, SOS, and Chief QM Ln Officer with the Chinese Armies. Colonel 
Kearney, like Cheves, had a major general's rank in the Chinese Army. 

21 Quoted from paragraph E2(j) of Rpt cited n. 20. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



243 



the Chinese SOS ordered that all soldiers receive an added issue of thirty-five 
ounces of meat and thirty- five ounces of beans per month. Unfortunately, 
this did not bring results. In the opinion of General Cheves, the orders, 
though issued in Chungking, had not been passed down to units in the field. 22 

Then Colonel Logan submitted his report, on 20 January 1945, and 
Wedemeyer had the benefit of a systematic study of the food problem. Logan 
did not believe the answer to the soldier's inadequate diet lay in any shortage 
of food within the area under control of the Central Government for he 
wrote: "It is estimated that foodstuffs indigenous to Tree China' can be ob- 
tained in sufficient quantity within the area of practical transportation from 
points of issue to provide an adequate and balanced dietary for Chinese 
Armed Forces in the southwestern area." As for the state of the Chinese 
soldier, Logan based his conclusions on the examination of a sample of 1,200 
men from five divisions, three corps, and replacement units, which he ex- 
amined at different points from Kunming to Kweiyang. Fifty-seven percent 
of these troops showed evidence of one or more nutritional deficiencies. He 
believed that "All deficiencies however were sufficient to affect significantly 
the health and efficiency of the troops though capable of relatively rapid 
correction under proper conditions." 23 

In conclusion Logan recommended that an adequate ration be provided 
at once; that multivitamin capsules be provided each man every day for at 
least sixty days; that all rations be issued in kind rather than by monetary 
allowances; that a central procurement agency consisting of Chinese and 
American representatives be set up within the Services of Supply to plan, 
purchase, transport, store, and distribute the ration to divisions; that a Food 
Service Program, assisted by American liaison officers, be set up in each divi - 
sion by appointing organization mess officers, battalion and regimental super- 
visors, plus a division mess inspector (this last to be responsible for proper 
distribution of the food) ; and finally that a specially trained nutrition officer 
of the U.S. Army be assigned to each Chinese army to report on the nutri- 
tional status of the troops. 

The report prescribed what later became known in China Theater as the 
Logan Ration. Modified at a joint Sino- American conference, 18 February, 
it set for the Chinese soldier a ration (in American ounces) of: rice, 27.3 
ounces; beans, 2.2 ounces; peanuts, 1.1 ounces; vegetable oil, 1 ounce; salt, 
.35 ounce; meat, 1.1 ounces; vegetables, 11 ounces; fuel, 29.43 ounces. 24 

Completion of the Logan Report found the Chinese willing to receive 
suggestions that their soldiers should be adequately fed. On 1 February, a 

22 Memo 321, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, undated. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 

23 Quote from App. A to Logan Report, p. 5. 

24 (1) Logan Report, Pt IV. (2) Ltr, Bri g Gen M ervin E. Gross, Actg CofS, to Gen Chen 
Cheng, Minister of War, 28 Feb 45. Rpt citec j n. 2(?1 



244 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



few days after Logan submitted his study, the Generalissimo approved a greatly 
improved Chinese ration, but since only CN$ 600 a month was set as the 
limit to be spent per ration it was not possible for the Chinese actually to 
feed their troops the improved ration; it was estimated that in the Kunming 
area CN$ 2,000 would be the monthly cost of the Logan Ration. 25 

Wedemeyer on 31 January presented the gist of the Logan Report to the 
Generalissimo together with a draft of a directive to Cheves which would 
require him to give needed logistical support to the task of properly feeding 
the Alpha troops. 26 Since the food problem was regarded by Wedemeyer 
as one of the most important he faced, he followed up his recommendations 
to the Generalissimo on 17 February, pointing out that as he (Wedemeyer) 
was about to visit the United States in mid-February for conferences (to 
present his plan to take a major port on the China coast) he would be able 
to obtain U.S. aid, vitamins for example, if the Generalissimo desired. 
Wedemeyer added that there was plenty of food in China, that the problem 
was one of distribution. To this the Minister of War, General Chen Cheng, 
agreed, saying that transport was the main problem. Here the Generalissimo 
observed that if he had had 5,000 more trucks he could have saved most of 
the east China airfields. 27 

Over the weeks ahead the Chinese indicated approval of many of Logan's 
ideas. The modified Logan Ration was adopted 28 February. 28 By 6 March 
a great deal of progress had been made in planning the new program. De- 
tailed surveys of the food -producing areas had been made by U.S. officers. 
Vitamin tablets were scheduled for shipment from the United States. The 
War Department had been asked to send out qualified personnel for food 
procurement. The scope of the program was clearly understood: 1,650,000 
pounds of food, 275,000 pounds of fuel, and 275,000 pounds of forage per 
day for the Alpha divisions. By mid-March, the planning was done and 
the task was now one of carrying out the project. 29 

Carrying Out the Food Program 

The American share of the work involved in supplying adequate food to 
the Alpha divisions was begun under the China Aid Section of the American 
SOS in China. The section had been organized in December 1944. When 
on 9 February 1945 a Chinese SOS was organized, the China Aid Section was 

25 Rpt cite d n. 20.1 

26 Memo 398, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 31 Jan 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 

27 For another explanation by the Generalissimo of" the east China campaign, see S til-well's 
Command Probl ems, I Chapter XII. | 

28 Rpt cited ln. 20| ~^ 

29 Memo 463, Lren Gross, Actg CofS, for Generalissimo, 6 Mar 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp 
with Chinese. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



245 



absorbed into the American component working with the Chinese SOS. 
Where the initial work of the Americans had been to secure an adequate 
ration for the two Chinese divisions flown back from Burma to China, they 
now in late February began the work of obtaining food for all the thirty-six 
U.S.-sponsored divisions in the Alpha plan. 30 The need for such work was 
obvious among the units that were to be in position to stop the Japanese if 
they chose to drive on Kunming. The American staff of the Food Depart- 
ment, Chinese SOS, later reported to General Wedemeyer that in March 1945 
they found the Chinese 13th Army unable to make even a short hike "with- 
out men falling out wholesale and many dying from utter starvation." 

The first step was to send U.S. officers and men fanning out over the 
Chinese countryside to see what food was procurable locally. The Americans 
formed the impression that Chinese statistics on food were nonexistent or 
unreliable. Local magistrates might be underestimating to avoid excessive 
confiscation or taxation, but even so, "no one really knew." It appeared that 
vegetable production was geared to the needs of the local countryside, and 
that as far as statistics might show there was no surplus for the Army. It 
was therefore necessary to secure an immediate increase in the vegetable sup- 
ply, and since the need was pressing there could be no time to wait till the 
next harvest. The Chinese and Americans agreed that the way to obtain 
more food was to set a fair price, end confiscation, and stop organized 
foraging by the Chinese Army. 

Issue of perishable meat items was a real problem because refrigeration, 
transport, and storage facilities were not present in the Chinese countryside. 
The solution finally adopted was to issue livestock, which could be carried 
or driven to the troops. This might not give each man his prescribed ration 
of meat every day but it was thought that over a month's time the issues 
would balance out. 

The Chinese Army had supply depots, which the Americans hoped could 
be brought to play a part in the food plan. Village magistrates, the tradi- 
tional source of local authority, could be of great help in persuading farmers 
to sell their produce and their aid was sought. 

The foundation of the whole ration scheme was the work of the Americans 
in the six ration purchasing commissions which were sent into the field, 
beginning on 11 April 1945. Ultimately, by exercising authority far beyond 
that prescribed for them, they were able to supplement the diet of 185,000 
Chinese soldiers. 

The ration purchasing commissions were placed at strategic spots to func- 
tion as parts of the Alpha plan. The first commission was placed in the 
vital Kweiyang area and began operations 11 April 1945. It fed the Chinese 

30 The report cited in note 20 is the source for this and the following section of the chapter. 



246 



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13th Army, the animals of the 71st Army, and units passing through 
Kweiyang, such as the Chinese 22d Division. The average number of men 
being fed at any time was 35,000. The work of this commission was singled 
out by Col. Charles F. Kearney, director of the food program, who reported 
that, whereas in March the 13th Army could not make even a short march 
without casualties from hunger, by August 1945 the 13th was "a physically 
magnificent army, in excellent march order." 

At Chanyi, which was on the eastern line of communications between 
Kunming and Kweiyang, Ration Purchasing Commission No. 2 fed the 
troops from Burma, the New 1st and New 6th Armies, as they flew in from 
Burma and began moving to east China. 

Ration Purchasing Commission No. 4 at Chihchiang was in an area from 
which the Fourteenth Air Force began operating after the loss of the 
Suichuan airfields, and so was a likely target for a Japanese attack. Estab- 
lished 1 May, it began feeding the New 6th Army (28,000 men) from Burma 
after the men were moved to the Chihchiang area to counter a Japanese threat. 

On 1 June Ration Purchasing Commission No. 3 began its work in the 
Kunming area. 

To support the projected drive to the coast (Operation Beta), Ration 
Purchasing Commission No. 5 was activated 15 June 1945 at Poseh, about 
100 miles south of Kweiyang on the road to Nanning and Port Bayard, the 
latter a small seaport very near the island of Hainan. The commission later 
moved forward to Nanning. It fed about 30,000 men. Several higher-num- 
bered commissions were planned and one was activated but played little part 
in the progress of events. 

Problems and Accomplishments of the Food Program 

In trying to appraise the results of the food program, its director, Colonel 
Kearney, gave first place to the development of an adequate ration and its 
adoption by the Chinese Army, and second place to the actual feeding of the 
185,000 men affected by the program at its peak operation. His report 
touched on other points which suggest the Chinese were being offered 
lessons and procedures whose influence might be felt long after the Ameri- 
cans went home. The Chinese were shown that armies on the march could 
be given an adequate, balanced diet. From among the Chinese who had 
worked with the Americans on the program grew the nucleus of an organi - 
zation that might cope with the problems of procurement, storage, and trans- 
port. The pages of Kearney's report suggest that the operation was in 
many ways a demonstration to the Chinese of what the Americans thought 
to be effective procedures. Kearney did not consider that a permanent and 
lasting reform had been accomplished within the Chinese Army. It may 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



247 



be noted that the Americans were withdrawn on 10 August 1945, with the 
end of the war, although, in Kearney's opinion, "Chinese personnel were not 
really considered adequate, competent, and suitably trained." 

In reflecting on the problems met in carrying out Wedemeyer's projects 
for giving adequate food to the troops of the Alpha plan, Kearney gave 
considerable space to the Chinese Army food depots, whose inadequacies seem 
to have given the ration purchasing commissions one of their major problems: 

Securing the cooperation of depots was a great difficulty. They have either refused to 
perform what was set out as their function or performed inadequately. They refused 
because of inadequate personnel, rigid depot regulations which cannot meet the needs of 
this type of operation, inadequate instruction in the requirements of their part in the sup- 
plemental food program, inadequate transportation, non-cooperation or opposition on the 
part of troops being fed, the physical inadequacy of their equipment and totally insuffi- 
cient and incomplete records for a successful operation. R.P.C. personnel were forced in 
many cases to by-pass depots and go beyond their original responsibility and issue food 
directly to the troops if they were to be fed. This was caused by the fact that there was 
no American personnel with the depots, and the time required for orders from higher 
authority to be received would have required months. If the R.P.C.'s had not extended 
beyond their normal function the troops would have not been fed. 

But though the depots were a problem the picture was not uniformly dark, 
for as the depots together with the local magistrates and the Chinese armies 
being fed became familiar with the operations of the commissions relations 
with all of them slowly improved. As for the several army headquarters, 
they took some time in adjusting themselves to the new system. They ap- 
peared to the ration purchasing commissions to be "determined to get as 
much as possible, often threatening physical violence and at times practicing 
it. They attempted in some cases to discredit the system in hopes the sys- 
tem would fail and they again would be issued money to use as they saw fit." 

Thanks to this venture in Sino-American co-operation, by the time 
summer arrived 185,000 Chinese troops had been put in condition for more 
vigorous offensive action than China had seen since 1939- 



The Student Volunteers 



The Chinese conscription system, as noted earlier, 31 did not send a steady 
flow of useful replacements into the Chinese Army. And, sharing the tradi- 
tional Chinese esteem for the scholar, the Central Government had exempted 
students from Army service. As a result, the Chinese Army had been handi - 
capped in trying to obtain qualified noncommissioned and junior officers. 

Late in 1944 the Chinese Government decided to change its policy, and 
to bring students into its armed forces. This immediately raised the issue of 
how and where they could best be used. The Americans recommended that 

31 See Ch. II, | above. 



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they be distributed among the thirty-six U.S.-sponsored divisions as a means 
of improving them. The Generalissimo raised the student issue on 29 
November, telling Wedemeyer that 60,000 students would be ready for serv- 
ice by 30 January 1945, and the remaining 40,000 by 31 March. Wedemeyer 
heartily indorsed the project of bringing the students into the Army. The 
Chinese, however, soon revealed that they intended to organize the 100,000 
students into ten elite divisions. Wedemeyer objected, for he thought that 
the students would be better used as replacements for the Alpha divisions, 
that assigning them would raise the morale of the units upon which so much 
depended. 32 

In January Wedemeyer again alluded to the student question and related 

it to the largest issues of Chinese social policy: 

The object of war is to guarantee a just peace in which the people of the world can 
share its privileges. In China itself one object must be to reduce the differences between 
the "haves" and the "have nots" to guarantee a happier and more contented people. 
With this background in mind plans must be drawn for the use of 100,000 students. To 
form them into a "corps d'elite" with favored treatment would defeat the aims for which 
the war is being waged, but to use them on the same basis as all the other troops would 
be a big step toward forming a united, strong China. 33 

Shortly after, Wedemeyer discussed another aspect of the student question, 
the Chinese practice of sending young men to the United States. In the 
past Wedemeyer had always maintained, he reminded the Generalissimo, that 
it was unwise to send young, capable, and English-speaking officers out of 
China in time of crisis. If such were available in numbers Wedemeyer had 
requested they be attached to the Sino-American Chinese Combat Command 
where they could be used very profitably. Wedemeyer had understood that 
the Generalissimo agreed with him and had undertaken to make such officers 
available. 

It now appeared, Wedemeyer told the Chinese, that 1,024 able-bodied 
young men had just been sent to India, to go from there to the United States 
for naval training. In addition, the Chinese had requested that 154 Chinese 
be sent to the United States to study armored warfare. Because he thought 
that the next six months of 1945 would be the most critical in the history of 
China, Wedemeyer believed these young men could make a far greater 
contribution in China Theater. 34 

These representations from Wedemeyer brought favorable comment from 
the Generalissimo. When on 17 February 1945 Wedemeyer remarked that 

u (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VII, p. 21. (2) Memo 304, McClure for Generalissimo, 
20 Dec 44. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. (3) Min, Mtg 25, Wedemeyer with General- 
issimo, 31 Dec 44. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. (4) Memo 555, Wedemeyer for General- 
issimo, 5 May 45. Bk 9, ACW Corresp with Chinese. This latter memorandum reviews the 
whole question as of 5 May 1945. 

» History of China Theater, Ch VII, p. 21. 

34 Memo 418, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 9 Feb 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



249 



it would be a mistake to give special privileges to the students, the General- 
issimo replied that they would be given the same treatment as the members 
of the U.S.-sponsored Alpha divisions. Wedemeyer added that as soon as 
the student volunteers were trained they should be sent out in groups of 
three or four thousand to fill the ranks of the various units, and "The Gen- 
eralissimo said he endorsed this idea." 35 

For the time being the solution reached was a nominal compromise be- 
tween the Chinese and American views, one that gave the Chinese their 
wishes in concrete form in exchange for a promised future compliance with 
General Wedemeyer's views. A Student Volunteer Army of ten divisions, 
each of 10,000 students, was organized, under the current tables of organiza- 
tion and equipment of the Chinese Army, subject to the understanding, on 
the part of the Americans, that these divisions ' would not be permanent. It 
was further understood by the Americans that these units would train for 
two or three months (a period of time regarded by the American service as 
appropriate for basic training but far less than that needed to produce the 
infantry-artillery team that is a division), and then the students would be 
distributed among the Alpha troops. When the training period came to an 
end in May 1945 Wedemeyer began to urge the Generalissimo to initiate the 
next phase. 36 

No Arms for the Chinese Communists 

During November and December 1944, when the Japanese were thought 
by the Americans to be offering a serious threat to Kunming, Wedemeyer 
and his staff had spent much time trying to find ways in which the Chinese 
Communist forces could be effectively used against the Japanese. Two 
proposals to that end were presented to the Generalissimo, who rejected 
them. General McClure had been preparing a third, which Wedemeyer ap- 
proved before he left Chungking in December to inspect his theater. Mean- 
while General Hurley had been attempting to effect a reconciliation of the 
Nationalists and Communists that would be consistent with the American 
policy of supporting the Generalissimo and his government. 37 Hurley's task 
was one of major historic importance; that he might be the better equipped 



55 Min, Mtg 40, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 17 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

36 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. VII, p. 22. (2) Memo cited n. 32(4). (3) McClure 
believed in 1954 that the student units remained intact, and were kept in training. McClure 
comments on draft MS. 

7 (1) General Hurley, in his comments on the draft manuscript of this volume, describes the 



difficulties he encountered. T rr Hur 
15 Dec 56. OCMH. (2) See Ch. II, 



ey to Maj Gen R. W. Stephens, Chief of Mil History, 
above. ( 3 ) McClure comments on draft MS. 



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The Honorable Patrick J. Hurley, new U.S. Ambassador to China, stands at 
attention outside National Government House in Chungking as he arrives to present his 
credentials to the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, Gen- 
eralissimo Chiang Kai-shek. 



for the effort, President Roosevelt on 30 November 1944 had nominated him 
for the post of Ambassador to China. 38 

A detailed examination of Hurley's effort to prevent civil war in China is 
beyond the scope of this volume, but the chronology of the major episodes 
in this period may be significant. On 10 November the Chairman of the 
Chinese Communist Party, Mao Tse-tung, signed a five-point statement 
drafted by Hurley, which the latter thought a suitable basis for the unifica- 
tion of China. The Nationalists rejected it, and offered a three-point draft 
which omitted mention of a coalition government. Hurley took both drafts 
to be statements of the initial bargaining positions of the parties. On 8 
December the Communists rejected the government offer, and added that its 
terms in their phrase precluded any possibility of their representatives return- 
ing to Chungking. Hurley's initial reaction, of 12 December, was that the 

38 United States Department of State, United States Relations With China (Washington 
1949), p. 59. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



251 



Nationalists should reopen the negotiations. At least outwardly unperturbed, 
he continued his work and felt that he was persuading the Nationalists to 
soften their stand. 39 

While Hurley, Wedemeyer, and McClure had been engaged in the pro- 
posals and negotiations mentioned above, the Office of Strategic Services in 
China was contemplating far-reaching negotiations with the Chinese Com- 
munists. Wedemeyer's later reports suggest he did not know of this OSS 
project until January, and Hurley's papers do not refer to it. 40 

In the meantime, whether aware or not of what was about to be under- 
taken by the OSS, McClure took the occasion of a trip to Yenan by Colonel 
Barrett, accompanied by Lt. Col. Willis H. Bird of the OSS, to have Barrett 
present the Communists with McClure's own plan for co-operation between 
them and Nationalist China. McClure recommended having U.S. airborne 
units totaling 4,000 to 5,000 well-trained technicians operate in Communist- 
held territories on missions of demolition and sabotage of Japanese installa- 
tions. McClure later stated that Barrett and Bird had orders to make it plain 
to the Chinese Communists that the McClure plan was being offered for their 
reactions only and was not being formally presented by the U.S. Government; 
such presentation, prior to the Generalissimo's consent, would have been a 
flagrant breach of diplomatic etiquette and tantamount to recognition of the 
Communists. McClure's later report does not give the Communist reaction 
to his plan. 41 

Independently, Colonel Bird entered upon his own negotiations with the 
Communists on behalf of the OSS, and reached a tentative agreement with 
them, on the same day that Barrett presented the McClure plan and a mes- 
sage from Hurley to the Communists. Not until 24 January did Wede- 
meyer, the theater commander, learn what Colonel Bird had proposed to the 
Chinese Communists, and then he was given only a portion of Bird's report 
to his OSS superiors in Washington: 

All agreements made on Dixie Mission tentative and based on our government's 
approval of project. Theater Command already agreed on principle of support to fullest 
extent of Communists and feel it is an OSS type project. If the government approves 
the following is tentative agreement: 

a. To place our S.O. [Special Operations] men with their units for purposes of destroy- 
ing Jap communications, air fields, and blockhouses, and to generally raise hell and run. 

59 (i) United States Relations With China, pp. 74-76. (2) Rad, CFB 26390, Hurley to 
Roosevelt, 16 Nov. 44. Item 97, Hurley Bk 1. (3) Ltr, Chou En-lai to Hurley, 8 Dec 44. 
Item 122, Hurley Bk 1. (4) Rad, Hurley to Roosevelt, 12 Dec 44. Item 126, Hurley Bk 1. 
(5) Hurley to State Dept, 23 Oct 44. Hurley Papers. 

40 The OSS project is described in a letter, Lt Col Willis H. Bird, Deputy Chief, OSS in 
China, to McClure, 24 January 1945, subject: Yenan Trip. Folder, Eyes Alone Wires re Commu- 
nists, Communist File, Items 1-5, 3 Nov- 10 Dec 44, Register No. 06104-M, USFCT Files, DRB 
AGO. The detail and scope of the plans are such as to suggest they were drafted before Bird 
arrived in Yenan on or about 15 December 1944. 

( 1) Memo for Record, Gen McClure . Handw ritten Incl to Ltr, McClure to Barrett, 18 Jan 



45. Communist File cited n. 40. (2) See Ch. II, above 



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b. To fully equip units assisting and protecting our men in sabotage work. 

c. Points of attack to be selected in general by Wedemeyer. Details to be worked out 
in co-operation with the Communists in that territory. 

d. To provide complete equipment for up to twenty -five thousand guerrillas except 
food and clothing. 

e. Set up school to instruct in use of American arms, demolitions, communications, etc. 

f. Set up intelligence radio network in co-operation with 18th Route Army. 

g. To supply at least 100,000 Woolworth one shot pistols for Peoples Militia. 

h. To receive complete co-operation of their army of six hundred fifty thousand and 
People's Militia of two and one half million when strategic use required by Wedemeyer. 42 

This incomplete version of the Bird message to the OSS in Washington 
is not without its puzzling aspects which may, however, be explained in the 
missing portions. For in an afternoon Bird succeeded in reaching tentative 
agreement on matters of the highest importance to both parties. It may be 
that the Bird message describes only the last stage in a long and complicated 
series of negotiations, brought to fruition on or about 15 December, and 
never reported to General Wedemeyer. 

So far as Hurley knew, Barrett was in Yenan to deliver a message from 
Hurley to the Chinese Communists. On 16 December, Chou En-lai, whose 
post with the Yenan regime corresponded to that of foreign minister, wrote 
his answer to that message. It again implied that the negotiations between 
Nationalists and Communists were at an end. 43 Later messages from the 
Chinese Communists in December had the same theme, and Hurley was at a 
loss to know why the Communists were so intransigent. 

By 15 January 1945 Hurley was satisfied that he had the answer and 
hastened to put the matter before President Roosevelt and General McClure. 
Hurley told McClure on 15 January (Chungking time) that the previous 
weekend he had visited the Generalissimo's residence and had there learned 
from Navy Group, China— which with the Generalissimo's secret police 
under General Tai Li formed the Sino- American Cooperative Organization— 
that the Communists had heard of a plan to use U.S. paratroopers in the 
Communist areas to lead Communist guerrillas. To the President he added 
that this plan was predicated on direct negotiations between the Communists 
and the U.S. Government. In Hurley's opinion, this amounted to recogni- 
tion of the Communists and gave them their objectives— destruction of the 
Nationalist regime and lend-lease arms from the United States. 44 

At this same time, a spate of reports from observers in the field told of 
clashes between Nationalist and Communist forces, while the American Ob- 



42 Ltr cited l n. 40J 

43 Ltr, Chou to H urley, 16 Dec 44. Item 126, Hurley Bk 1. 

44 (1) Memo cite d n. 41.1 (2) Rad War 21084, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 15 Jan 44. Item 
265, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal File. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



253 



server Group in Yenan was of the opinion that the Communist leadership 
seemed willing to contemplate immediate civil war. 45 

The authorities in Washington reacted strongly to Hurley's report. 
Marshall ordered Wedemeyer to investigate and report at once. 46 This he 
did. In his report to General Marshall, 27 January, he stated that he had in- 
formed all officers of his command that "we must support the Chinese Na- 
tional Government" and that no negotiations were to be carried out with 
Chinese not approved or recognized by the Generalissimo. Wedemeyer be- 
lieved that Barrett and Bird were aware of these orders. He added that he 
had not been aware of Bird's accompanying Barrett to Yenan and, by quoting 
Bird's message to Washington as it has been quoted above, implied that he 
had not known of Bird's discussions. Wedemeyer closed his report by tell- 
ing Marshall, "Needless to say I am extremely sorry that my people became 
involved in such a delicate situation. I do not believe that this instance is 
the main cause of the breakdown of negotiations but I am fully aware that 
unauthorized loose discussions by my officers employed in good faith by 
General Hurley could have strongly contributed to the latter's difficulties in 
bringing about a solution to the problem." 41 

Negotiations between Nationalists and Communists resumed on 24 
January 1945, so the breach was not permanent, but the incident made its 
impression on Wedemeyer. He had been aware that General Chennault had 
been closely associated with General Hsueh Yueh and that the latter was not 
in the Generalissimo's good graces. Now, officers on his own staff were 
becoming involved in Chinese politics to such an extent that Ambassador 
Hurley thought they had created a major obstacle to his diplomatic efforts. 
Wedemeyer's solution was to issue an order removing both the Army and 
himself from any possibility of further involvement: "Officers in China 
Theater will not assist, negotiate, or collaborate in any way with Chinese 
political parties, activities, or persons not specifically authorized by Com- 
manding General, U.S. Forces, China Theater. This includes discussing 
hypothetical aid or employment of U.S. resources to assist any effort of an 
unapproved political party, activity, or persons. This also forbids rendering 
local assistance. . . ," 48 

According to General McClure's recollections, this development ended 

45 (1) Rad CAK 3705, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 10 Jan 45. Chennault had liaison officers 
with the Communists, e.g., Maj. Fred W. Eggers. See Memo Maj E. T. Cowen for G-2, USFCT, 
11 T an 45; Rad 322, Wedemeyer for Dickey to Evans sgd Cromley, 9 Jan 45. Communist File 
cite d! n. 4o1 

46 Rad cited |n. 44(2")] 

47 Rad CFB 32080, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 27 Jan 45. Communist File cite d! n. 40. 1 

48 (1) Memo for CG 14th USAF et al., 30 Jan 45, sub: Support of U.S. policy. Item 1, Chi- 
nese Agreements, Items 1 to 11, Register No. 061 05-1, USFC T Files, DRB AGO. (2) United 
States Relations With China, p. 78. (3) Ltr cited n. 37(1) 



254 



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the period of close operational contact between the embassy and theater head- 
quarters. Thereafter, the relationship between Hurley and Wedemeyer was 
one of close liaison rather than mutual use of the theater's resources in staff 
officers. However, Hurley attended nine of tne twenty-two meetings between 
Wedemeyer and Chiang that were held until the end of the war, and so was 
conversant with the main trends in theater policy and planning. 49 

Six months later, Wedemeyer explained his stand to Lt. Gen. John E. 
Hull, the Assistant Chief of Staff, OPD. Telling Hull that Hurley and the 
Generalissimo had just asked him to negotiate with the Communists, that 
they had been flattering in their comments about what he might do, Wede- 
meyer added, "After my experience last December with Hurley concerning 
McClure and Barrett in which he blamed the Army for breakdown in his 
negotiations, I am very wary." So he told the Generalissimo and Hurley 
that he did not intend to visit Yenan, for he did not wish to jeopardize their 
success, which Hurley thought imminent. As for the political activities of 
other U.S. agencies and personnel in China, he told Hull: "If the American 
public ever learned that we poured supplies to a questionable organization 
such as Tai Li operates, without any accounting, it would be most unfortu- 
nate indeed. ... I rather question the Navy's concern about the Chinese 
attitude. Miles [commanding Navy Group, China] had been Santa Claus 
out here for a long time and just between you and me Chennault has given 
supplies to a certain war lord friend without accounting for them. All I 
am doing, and I am sure you would do the same, is trying to conduct this 
show in a straightforward manner." 50 

Conducting a Straightforward Show 

Wedemeyer's remark to Hull, that he was trying to conduct his theater's 
operations in a proper and businesslike manner, was a description of his 
policy. He was fully aware of the impact of American lend-lease and Ameri- 
can expenditures on the Chinese economy and Chinese politics, and resolved 
that no corruption or waste or unauthorized intervention would result from 
any action within his sphere. Several antecedents may be distinguished. 

The Chinese inflation gathered momentum throughout 1945. The whole- 
sale price index rose in geometric ratio, while the exchange rate between 
Chinese and U.S. currency held at roughly 500 to 1 from January to April, 
then bounded to another plateau at 750 to 1 from April to June, before it 
rocketed to the stratosphere of 3,000 to 1 in a vain attempt to catch the 
wholesale price index, which was by then in outer space. Meanwhile, the 
numerical strength of the U.S. forces in China was steadily growing, from 

49 (1) McClure comments on draft MS. (2) Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

50 Ltr, Wedemeyer to Hull, 5 Jul 45. Case 49, OPD 319.1, TS Sec I. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



255 



32,956 in January to 58,975 in June, with all the implied demand for con- 
struction. As the troops increased, so did U.S. expenditures in China, from 
about one billion National currency dollars in November 1944 to six billion 
National currency dollars in April 1945, and twenty billion National currency 
dollars in May. All the while, U.S. lend-lease to China, which would be a 
counterbalancing charge on China against these expenditures and also against 
Chinese contributions in kind, e. g., food and shelter in Chinese hostels, was 
being distributed. 51 

Therefore, China Theater headquarters had to keep accurate records against 
settlement day, plan its purchases carefully so that the U.S. taxpayer would 
receive his dollar's worth, and conduct its affairs with meticulous care so that 
Chinese traders would not receive advance notice of heavy purchases and 
profiteer accordingly. Moreover, China Theater was also interested in de- 
veloping sources of Chinese production. 

Several developments in December and January 1944-45 preceded the 
decision to create the post of Assistant Chief of Staff, G-5 (Civil Affairs), to 
assist the theater commander in dealing with these and other problems of 
relations with civil authority. In fall 1944 the Chinese created their own 
War Production Board, whose basic charter ("organic law" in Chinese termi- 
nology) gave it the most sweeping powers over the procurement and dis- 
tribution of materiel for the war in China. China was after all a sovereign 
power, free to renounce her previous engagements; this law seemed to China 
Theater headquarters to come very close to asserting Chinese control over 
every aspect of lend-lease. Theater headquarters was also aware that a con- 
siderable quantity of supplies from the United States had been procured by 
Chinese and American agencies under various programs to aid China, many 
of which had little relation to the thirty-six-division program. Control of 
lend-lease was Wedemeyer's ace card, and he could not afford to have it 
trumped by American supplies brought into China without his consent. 

On 25 December Wedemeyer protested that as Commanding General, 
U.S. Forces, China Theater, he was vested with control over lend-lease which 
it was not in his power to relinquish. Nor could he relinquish control over 
transport facilities to China, and therefore over the allocation of Hump 
tonnage. Then he proceeded a step further, by recommending that all sup- 
plies entering China be placed under his control, that Chinese agencies be 
asked to submit their requisitions to him so that as the Generalissimo's chief 
of staff he could determine to what degree they furthered the war effort. 
The Chinese did not immediately respond. 52 

Then, in January, T. V. Soong asked Wedemeyer publicly to refute an 

51 (1) Data from History nf the Prom re merit- Branch, G-5 Section of the General Staff, Hq 
USFCT. OCMH. (2) See lTable 3-1 

52 History of China Theater, Ch. Ill, pp. 1-10. 



256 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Chinese Mechanics Reassembling Lend-Lease Jeep under the direction of an 
American liaison man. 

article in an American magazine which charged mishandling, misdirection, 
and misappropriation of foreign supplies entering China. Wedemeyer told 
the Generalissimo that he would be happy to do it, but added that since he 
did not have access to the facts he honestly could not do so. Therefore he 
recommended that incoming supplies of whatever origin should be stored in 
warehouses under U.S. military control and Chinese representation. The 
Generalissimo agreed, then again asked that Wedemeyer tell the press that 
all lend-lease had been properly handled. The press release was to be on 
Wedemeyer's own authority, Soong quickly explained, and was not to quote 
the Generalissimo. When the Generalissimo pressed Wedemeyer again to 
issue such a statement, the latter replied that he would consider it, and sev- 
eral days later told Chiang that War Department policy would not permit 
his issuing such a refutation. For his part, the Generalissimo agreed to 
consider a unified control system. 53 

" Min, Mtg 29, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 13 Jan 45; Mtg 30, 29 Jan 45. Bk 1, 
Generalissimo Minutes. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



257 




Chinese Hostel at an American Air Base, where men of the 308th Bomb Group 
lived and worked. 



In mid-January two of the American agencies in China— the War Produc- 
tion Mission, headed by Donald M. Nelson, which was working to improve 
Chinese war production, and the Foreign Economic Administration — fell in 
behind the Wedemeyer policy of central control. The FEA's concurrence 
was important, for it was then engaged in a major project to bring 15,000 
trucks to China. By agreeing that the SOS would receive and issue all spare 
parts and maintenance equipment brought in under its program it gave 
Wedemeyer a way of directing this vitally needed transportation to support 
of the war effort. 54 

To bring these complicated and potentially embarrassing activities under 
effective control of the theater commander, the post of Assistant Chief of 
Staff, G-5, was created 30 January 1945, and Col. George H. Olmstead was 
appointed to fill it. Olmstead was a graduate of the Military Academy who 
had entered civil life, becoming finally chairman of the board of an insurance 



54 History of China Theater, Ch. Ill, pp. 12-13. 



258 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Table 3 — U.S. Troop Strengths, China Theater: 1945 



Month 


Air iorces 


Orou nd 
forces 


Other 


Total 


J 9. nil £ir v 


23, 960 


8 779 


217 


32, 956 


February 


25, 190 


8^ 030 


306 


33, 526 


March 


27, 600 


8, 960 


381 


37, 941 


April 


31,324 


11, 148 


705 


43, 177 


May 


31, 278 


19, 249 


1, 135 


51,662 


June 


33,221 


24, 299 


1,455 


58,975 


July 


29, 209 


26, 063 


1,960 


57,232 


15 August 


34, 726 


22, 151 


5, 492 


60, 369 



Source: Tabulation of G-l, China Theater, Reports in Folder, "Supply, China Theater, 1945." OCMH. 



company; his combination of military background and commercial experience 
seemed an appropriate one. 

Initially, G-5 had 4 branches: (1) Requirements and Assignment Branch 
(later, Lend-Lease Branch); (2) Procurement Branch; (3) Production, Plan- 
ning, and Policy Branch; (4) Liaison Branch. 

Division of responsibility between G-5 and SOS was clarified by the 
decision that G-5 would be the planning, policy-making, and supervisory 
agency, while SOS would be the executive body. As the quantity of lend- 
lease entering China grew with the steady improvement in deliveries over the 
Hump, the lend-lease responsibilities of G-5 grew with it. Areas of responsi- 
bility between the several staff sections in regard to lend-lease were defined 
anew: G-3 drafted tables of organization and equipment; G-4, together with 
G-4, India-Burma Theater, called forward supplies; G-5 obtained War De- 
partment approval of lend-lease requisitions, supervised accounting and 
storekeeping, and also supervised the lend-lease activities of such quasi - 
autonomous agencies as OSS and Navy Group, China. 55 

Wedemeyer's concern for the semi-independent intelligence agencies in 
China Theater has been noted before, 56 and since these agencies dealt exten- 
sively with Chinese civil authority and were dependent on lend-lease, G-5, 
rather than G-2, was employed as the staff agency for their control. On 1 
March 1945, G-5 assumed control of clandestine warfare activity within 
China Theater. Theater headquarters told Olmstead to co-ordinate and con- 
trol clandestine and quasi-military activity to ensure the greatest possible 
effectiveness in furtherance of the aims of the Chinese National Government 
and the Chinese- American military effort. The motive behind the reference 



55 His tory nf China Theater, Ch. Ill, pp. 26-28. 

56 See Ch. V, above. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



259 



to limiting support to the Chinese National Government was to avoid 
participation in Chinese domestic politics. 

In the day-to-day exercise of its duties G-5 evolved certain policies for 
control of clandestine warfare, which it applied to all agencies, American or 
Allied, through Wedemeyer' s position as chief of staff to the Generalissimo. 
Anything suggested was appraised in terms of its demand on Hump tonnage, 
and approved only if it would add to the success of the theater's basic war 
plans, Alpha and Beta. G-5 maintained close liaison with the American, 
Chinese, British, and French agencies. It kept in touch with the Chinese by 
periodic visits with the Chinese Board of Military Operations, and by discus - 
sions between Olmstead and his Chinese opposite number, General Cheng 
Kai-ming, at meetings of the Combined Staff. The General Officer Com- 
manding, British Troops, China, Maj. Gen. E. C. Hayes, kept in contact with 
Olmstead. The French worked with the OSS in China, so the link with the 
French agency, Direction Generate des Etudes et des Recherches, was through OSS. 
U.S. agencies maintained liaison officers at theater headquarters. 57 

The Problem of French Indochina 

Hardly had Wedemeyer begun to grapple with the problem of forming 
the several Allied agencies in China into a harmonious team before Japanese 
activity in Indochina created a major problem of Allied co-operation both 
within and without China Theater. Fearing that the United States might be 
planning an amphibious assault on Indochina, Imperial General Headquarters 
on 28 February 1945 ordered its forces there to occupy the centers of ad- 
ministrative and military power, where the French had preserved an uneasy 
autonomy since 1941, in order to eliminate any chance of Franco -American 
co-operation. 58 Such an order had been anticipated by the Allies, for on 2 
February the French military attache at Chungking had said that the Japanese 
were insisting that the French disband and disarm, and Wedemeyer had 
promptly relayed the news to Washington. 59 

The Japanese demand gave the United States some awkward moments. 
The French fought back, and asked for help. If the U.S. forces in China 
responded, it would be a diversion from their meager resources. More to the 
point, the War Department's response to reports of fighting in Indochina 
showed that the United States Government was most reluctant to engage in 
activity that might result in its being associated with or supporting French 

57 Maj Martin F. Sullivan, G-5 Sec, USFCT, History of the Clandestine Branch, 15 Nov 45. 
OCMH. 

58 Japanese Study No. 45, pp. 183-84. 

59 Rad, CFB 32319, Wedemeyer to OPD, 2 Feb. 45. Item 335, Bks 1 and 2, ACW Personal 
File. 



260 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



colonialism. At the Yalta Conference, 4 February 1945, Roosevelt told the 
JCS he favored anything that was against the Japanese so long as the United 
States was not aligned with the French. 60 

One weapon that could intervene to support the 5,000 or so French and 
colonial troops who soon began fighting their way northward was the Four- 
teenth Air Force. Chennault did his best by strafing Japanese columns. 
Current directives from the War Department appeared to permit operations 
against the Japanese directly or through support of forces resisting Japan, 
which would seem to include the French. 61 Presumably the French requested 
help of the British no less than of the Americans, for in late March Ameri- 
can pilots over Indochina observed British aircraft making airdrops to the 
French troops. Shortly after, China Theater reported that the British were 
delivering infantry weapons in the area. 62 

However welcome this may have been to the French, who were trying to 
keep a foothold in one of their principal overseas possessions, it disturbed 
Wedemeyer, who believed that Indochina was part of the Generalissimo's 
China Theater, and that British forces could not operate there without prior 
permission from the Generalissimo. The matter was presented to the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. Wedemeyer reported that he found British clandestine or- 
ganizations most active both in French Indochina and in Thailand, that 
Mountbatten justified their presence there on the ground of a gentleman's 
agreement with the Generalissimo that permitted him to operate in those 
countries. From the Joint Chiefs of Staff the matter went still higher, where 
Churchill argued that Wedemeyer and Mountbatten had an agreement that 
permitted the latter to conduct pre-occupation clandestine activities in 
French Indochina. 63 

The resolution of the difficulty over theater boundaries was agreement 
between Roosevelt and Churchill that Mountbatten would operate in the 
Generalissimo's theater only by prearrangement with him. 64 Meanwhile, the 
luckless French were slowly trudging into Yunnan. Their reception was 
mixed for there were incidents with the Chinese. Having long memories, 

60 (1) Ltr, Hull to Wheeler, 22 Feb 45. TS Reg No. 4945, Hq USF IBT Files, Folder 73, 
KCRC. (2) Min, Mtg of President with Advisers, 4 Feb 45. Foreign Relations of the United 
States: Diplomatic Papers, Dept State Pub 6199, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta, 1945 
(Washington, 1955). 

61 (1) Rad, CFB 34998, Gross to Chennault, 31 Mar 45. Item 546, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Per- 
sonal File. (2) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 342. 

62 (1) Rad, CFB 34921, Gross to Wedemeyer, 29 Mar 45. Item 540, Bks 3 and 4, ACW 
Personal File. (2) Rad, CFB 35143, Gross to Timberman, 3 Apr 45. Item 553, Bks 3 and 4, 
ACW Personal File. 

63 (1) Rad, CFB 35 759, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 15 Apr 45. Item 588, Bks 3 and 4, ACW 
Personal File. (2) Rad, WAR 66655, Hull to Wedemeyer, 12 Apr 45. Item 572, Bks 3 and 4, 
ACW Personal File. 

64 Rad, WAR 68666, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 16 Apr 45. Item 595, Bks 3 and 4, ACW 
Personal File. 



FINDING A WAY TO ADVISE AND ASSIST 



261 



some of the Chinese remembered the initial Japanese occupation of Indo- 
china in 1941, and suggested that then would have been the time to fight 
and to ask Chinese and American assistance. On being evacuated, those 
French who needed hospital care were flown to Assam where the British 
assumed responsibility for them. The others, after a rest period, were re- 
organized with the aim of using them for internal security. 65 

By late February or early March of 1945, Wedemeyer's China Theater was 
organized to provide a co-operative Allied effort in China. Wedemeyer's 
addition to the liaison system, the device of passing disagreement up the 
chain of command, might well be the vital ingredient whose earlier absence 
had impeded the conduct of operations along the Sal ween and in north 
Burma. Wedemeyer was also trying to weld the several Allied powers oper- 
ating in China Theater into a team, and his efforts in this regard had just 
met their first test in Indochina. 

65 (1) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 13 Jun 45. (2) Min, Combined Staff Mtgs 52, 67, CCC 
and Chinese Supreme Hq, 11 Jun, 20 Jul 45. AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC. 



CHAPTER IX 



Meeting the First Test in China 



Arrangements to train, arm, feed, and co-ordinate the Chinese were carefully 
made and reflected several years' experience. But they were, after all, only 
so many attempts to solve known or anticipated problems. The Chinese 
Combat Command, the Chinese Training Command, the emerging Chinese 
SOS, all had to take the field and put the new machinery into operation. 
Whether it would produce results was the question, and provides the next 
chapter in the unfolding story. 

The Thirty-six Divisions Take Form 

The Logan Ration and the student volunteers would, if Wedemeyer's 
views prevailed, lead to an over-all improvement in the Alpha divisions. 
But because the ration and student projects, the suggestion for reducing the 
size of the Chinese Army, and the suggestions for different command pro- 
cedures touched so many sensitive aspects of the Nationalist regime, it was 
over these that China Theater met with the greatest difficulties. With the 
thirty -six divisions Wedemeyer had more success, and it is there, in retro- 
spect, that Sino-American co-operation appears at its brightest. As noted 
above, 1 the CCC offered a means of remedying some of the obvious 
deficiencies of the Chinese Army. It set up a chain of communication from 
higher hea dquarters through intermediate headquarters down to divisions. 



{Chart 5) It supervised reorganization and amalgamation within the six 
area commands. It provided Chinese commanders with competent Ameri- 
can general and special staff assistance in operations, intelligence, and 
logistics. It provided technical assistance for the Chinese in handling 
artillery and communications. It placed competent medical personnel among 
Chinese who had been trained primarily by experience. In co-operation with 
the newly organized Chinese Services of Supply, it organized and supervised 
a measure of logistical support. It conducted service schools and unit train- 



1 Ch. V. 



Chart 5 — Sino- American Liaison System (Schematic) 



Commanding General 
U.S. Forces, China 



Commanding 


General 


Fourteenth / 


\ir rorce 



Air-Ground 
Liaison 
Section 


Chinese 
Combat 
Command 


Supreme 
Commander 


i : 




Air-Ground 
Liaison 
Section 


U.S. Combat 
Section 


Grou 


3 Army 


1 

1 

• 


1 
1 
1 






Ajr-Ground 
Liaison 
Section 


U.S Combot 
Section 


A 


rmy 


1 

■ 

1 

i 


1 
1 
1 






Air-Ground 
Liaison 
Section 


U S. Combat 
Section 


Division 




Chinese command channel 
— mm — U.S, command channel 




>- Air-ground liaison command 
channel 



264 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ing. In brief, technical assistance, professional training, and logistical sup- 
port were offered to thirty-six selected Chinese divisions guarding Kunming. 

The divisions the Chinese were willing to assign to the Alpha plan were 
divided among six area commands. The essential Kunming supply installa- 
tions were in the Reserve Command. North and east of Kunming was the 
Central Command, which included the vital road center of Kweiyang from 
which roads lead to Kunming and Chungking. Still farther east and north 
was Eastern Command, which included the Chihchiang airstrips, from which 
Chennault's airmen were currently operating, and the lost east China fields. 
Southeast of the Reserve and Central Commands lay the Kwangsi Command, 
whose farther border was the sea in the area of Luichow Peninsula and the 
then-obscure harbor of Fort Bayard. Directly south of Reserve Command, 
on the Indochina border, was the Southern Command, and to the west, on 
the Salween front, the Western Command. The Chungking area and the 
remaining 85 percent of the Chinese Army did not have a place in these area 
commands. 

Of the six, the Reserve and Eastern Commands had the greatest initial 
importance— the first, because of the major role it played in training one 
third of the U.S. -sponsored divisions; the latter, because it lay between the 
Japanese and one of Chennault's most vital fields, Chihchiang. The task of 
reorganization facing Colonel Bowman and General Chang Fa-kwei in the 
Kwangsi Command was especially difficult. While a portion of the Chinese 
defenders of the Kweilin-Liuchow area fell back northwest toward Kweiyang, 
General Chang's forces had moved southwest to Poseh near the Indochina 
border. When Bowman opened his headquarters 27 December 1944 he 
found Chang with the remnants of six armies, which had "lost practically 
all their equipment. Their supply and medical systems had broken down. 
Their morale was broken." Bowman thought they could not stop a Japanese 
regiment. And they were in a food deficit area which meant that unless the 
Americans could bring in food, Chang's armies would have to desert in order 
to eat. So Bowman began to set up a line of communications, by airlift to 
Poseh and water transport forward. McClure greatly aided him by assigning 
a small group of liaison aircraft, which provided evacuation and courier 
service. 2 

McClure also sought to obtain rice for Chang's men. On 11 April he 
radioed Wedemeyer from the field that the SOS was operating in only an 
advisory capacity in Chang's vital area, and that food was scarce there. Chang 
had assured McClure that if he was given the money he could buy food from 
within the Japanese lines. Passing through them was easy in the Nanning 

2 (1) GO 7, Hq CCC USFCT, 29 Jan 45. (2) History, Kwangsi Command, CCC, Jan-Mar 
45. CCC Files, KCRC. (3) Bowman comments on draft MS. 



266 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



area and done every day; the farmers would deliver rice to Chang as required. 
So McClure suggested that Chang be given funds to buy rice from Japanese- 
held Kwangsi areas, for there would be no rice available outside them after 
1 May. 3 

The Reserve Command, whose Chinese troops were under General Tu 
Yu-ming, and which was commanded by Col. Emerick Kutschko, was pri- 
marily a training command. 4 No combat took place under its authority. 
Its importance lies rather in its work of training and equipping Chinese 
divisions in China. 5 

As the basic plan prescribed, Colonel Kutschko organized his staff along 
the familiar general and special staff lines so that staff officers might deal 
with their Chinese opposite numbers, and attached a U.S. combat section to 
each Chinese army headquarters. These sections in turn sent liaison sections 
to Chinese divisions, and by cutting personnel requirements to a fine point 
the Americans succeeded in finding at least one U.S. liaison officer for each 
Chinese regiment or artillery battalion. Kutschko had the 35th and 60th 
U.S. Portable Surgical Hospitals and two veterinary detachments, which were 
used to strengthen the Chinese medical and sanitary services. 

Commissioned and enlisted instructors for service schools were also avail- 
able. Signal Corps men to set up and operate a communications net linking 
the U.S. liaison sections and detachments completed Kutschko's modest force. 
As of 25 March 1945 it totaled 185 officers and 401 enlisted men. 

Taking up their new stations, the Americans in February found that 
General Tu had four armies, the 5th, New 6th, 8th, and 54th. The Ameri- 
cans estimated their strength at 96,316, divided among twelve divisions. Of 
these divisions four had fought on the Sal ween and were far understrength, 
while the 14th and 22d were veterans of north Burma. Kutschko reported 
that the Honorable 1st and 103d Divisions, 8th Army, "were in a deplorable 
state of malnutrition," and that 90 percent of the 166th Division had scabies. 
Transport was so scarce that central supervision of the training program was 
extremely difficult, to say nothing of the ration and equipment issue. 

With its first directive, CCC had presented two thirteen- week training 
programs as guides for the American staffs of the several commands. The 
goal was to have each unit capable of fighting effectively three months after 
beginning its training. This program, plus specialist training in troop schools, 
was the foundation of the American program for the Reserve Command. In 
the first 13-week cycle Chinese Combat Command focused attention on 

3 Rad CYF 13495, McClure to Wedemeyer, 11 Apr 44. AG 311.23, CC C Fil es KCJi C 

4 For General Tu's background, see S til well's Mission to China, Chapters ! HI | an q IV.| 

5 Save as otherwise indicated, data on the Reserve Command may be found in two historical 
reports, sent by letters. Ltrs, Capt George E. McLaughlin, Actg AG, Hq Reserve Comd, CCC 
(Prov), USFCT, to CG CCC (Prov), 30 Aug 45, 7 Sep 45. OCMH. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



267 



weapons training, for which were suggested 144 hours of the first 13- week 
cycle, and small unit problems, which received 116 hours, while marches and 
bivouacs plus sanitation were to receive 32 hours, and patrolling, 36. In the 
second 13-week cycle, drill in the handling of weapons received less time (78 
hours) while their tactical use moved up to 60 hours. Tactics to include the 
battalion were to have 174 hours. Plainly then, training was to be progres- 
sive; the soldier was to learn the use of his weapon and then be fitted into 
the team. 

In proposing these training cycles, CCC directed its subordinates to 
inculcate the offensive spirit. It reminded them that Chinese armies had 
been so long on the defensive that Chinese officers found it hard to think in 
aggressive terms. The Americans were cautioned not to bypass the Chinese 
officers in training, but rather to teach them to train their men, then to super- 
vise the finished product. Unit training was to be practical. "No organiza - 
tion ever had too much training in weapons." In accord with the spirit of 
these instructions, McClure's headquarters limited defensive tactical exercises 
to security measures and protection of a captured point against counterattack. 

Kutschko and his aides found that the training problem varied from one 
division to another. The New 6th Army's 14th and 22d Divisions were in 
excellent shape, thanks to training in India and combat in Burma. How- 
ever, the 207th Youth Division could not begin training until after it re- 
ceived infantry weapons, which arrived by 1 May. The 5th Army divisions 
varied in quality. The 45th Division was promptly reorganized on the June 
1944 Table of Organization, and was ready to begin its 13- week training 
cycle on 1 April 1945. As for the 96th Division, some of its officers had 
attended the old Y-Force Infantry Training Center; it was hoped they would 
be fairly well qualified. It too was to begin 13-week training on 1 April, as 
was the last division, the veteran 200th. The 5th Army's three battalions of 
75-mm. pack artillery had had either recent combat on the Salween or Ameri- 
can training. Some of the engineer and communication troops had already 
received U.S. training and equipment. For these service troops, technical 
schools were planned. 

Two divisions of the 54th Army, 36th and 198th, spent most of the 
February-March period in reorganizing to conform to the newly adapted 
Table of Organization. Combat on the Salween had taken a heavy toll; the 
absorption of replacements necessarily resulted in delaying the beginning of 
the training cycle. The 8th Division, 54th Army, was regarded as being in 
good condition and well trained, with but one great lack, transport animals, 
of which it had none. The last of the four armies, the 8th, was handicapped 
by an outbreak of relapsing fever, plus a number of cases of malnutrition, in 
its Honorable 1st Division. Despite this, during February and March classes 
for officers and enlisted men were carried out in the school of the soldier, of 



268 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



the section, and in the heavy machine gun. The 103d Division was training 
officer cadres and recruits. Schools for signalmen and 60-mm. mortar crews 
were also conducted in the preliminary period. The last division, the 166th, 
was moving into its assigned stations and so could not begin any training 
until 26 March. On that date all units of the 8th Army, save two regiments 
acting as airfield guards, began their 13-week training. Therefore, of the 
Reserve Command divisions that needed training all but two were ready to 
begin work on or about 1 April. 

The equipment problem was complicated by the transport shortage which 
made it very hard to deliver arms to the divisions. The American SOS made 
deliveries to army headquarters. In order to get the weapons to divisions 
the American liaison personnel had to borrow Air Forces and SOS vehicles. 
The rate at which American equipment was being received can be estimated 
from a table showing the percentage of weapons, authorized by the Tables of 
Organization, which had been issued as of 25 May 1945: 6 

Percent 

5th Army Troops 100 (less 100 submachine guns) 

45th Division 80 

96th Division 100 

200th Division (except for artillery battalion) 

8th Army Troops 80 

Honorable 1st Division 100 

103d Division 100 

166th Division 

54th Army Troops 80 

8th Division 85 

36th Division 70 

198th Division 40 

New 6th Army (less 14th and 22nd Divisions in Chihchiang area) 

207th Division- 60 

In grappling with the actual training of the Reserve Command's divisions 
the Americans had to adjust their programs to a number of factors. For ex- 
ample, it was manifestly impossible to train mortar crews before the weapons 
were at hand. For another, because training was progressive, the American 
staff believed the Chinese should master one phase of the program before 
passing on to the next even though this called for spending many more 
weeks on a particularly troublesome phase than had been suggested by the 
Chinese Combat Command's training schedule. 

There were also local problems arising from the combination of circum- 
stances that brought the Reserve Command into being. Because the 8th, 
53d, and 54th Armies had been heavily engaged on the Sal ween front, they 
had lost a majority of their junior officers, who would under U.S. Army 

6 Ltr, Col Laurence B. Bixby, CofS Reserve Comd CCC (Prov), to McClure, 25 May 45, sub: 
Progress Rpt. CCC and Asgd Units Hist Rpt, OCMH. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



269 



training methods have done a great deal of the instructing. These men had 
to be replaced in short order, which was done by promoting noncommis- 
sioned officers. Many of these were illiterate and had only the slenderest 
professional qualifications. This gap was plugged in part by special officers' 
training schools. Other difficulties arose because many Chinese general 
officers were absent from their commands and thus could not place the 
weight of their authority behind the American efforts to train their men. 
The American side of the effort was initially handicapped by the small num- 
ber of U.S. troops that were in China and available for instructor duties. 
Transfer to Reserve Command of the 1st Battalion, 475th U.S. Infantry, in 
May 1945 helped meet this need. Kutschko's staff reported that the poor 
health of the Chinese soldiers, "particularly among recruits," in many in- 
stances reduced attendance at training to 50 percent. For a time, it seemed 
to General McClure, Commanding General, CCC, that the problem was 
primarily one of physical rehabilitation." 

The success of Reserve Command's efforts to carry out its mission 
depended on its ability to solve the problems described above. As April 
began, Kutschko and his 500-odd subordinates settled down to training the 
twelve divisions that formed one third of the total force scheduled to receive 
American instruction. 

Eastern Command's Work Interrupted 

Western Hunan Province, the area allotted to Eastern Command on 29 
January 1945, is a rough, mountainous area, which was then practically road- 
less and depended for transport upon the coolies trudging from village to 
village and upon the streams that run generally north and east toward Tung- 
ting Lake. The local Chinese forces were the XXIV Group Army, General 
Wang Yao-wu, which included the 18th, 73d, 74th, and 100th Armies. Gen- 
eral Wang's headquarters was at Sha-wan, a town just south of the main 
road, Chihchiang-Heng-yang, and there Eastern Command o f Chinese C om- 
bat Command set up its own headquarters on 2 February. | (Map 13) Its 



mission was to supervise the training and equipping of General Wang's 
troops. 8 General Wang's XXIV Group Army divisions varied in troop 
strength, and had but thirty-three pieces of light artillery, French, Russian, 
Japanese, and Dutch: 9 

7 McClure comments on draft MS. 

8 Save as otherwise indicated, this section is based on MS, Formal Historical Record, for the 
Period 29 Jan 45-1 Sep 45, for Brig Gen Woods King, Hq IV Army Group Comd CCC USFCT, 
1 Sep 45. OCMH. 

9 (1) 1st Ind, Lt Col Ivan W. Ward, Actg AG CCC, 14 Jan 45, to CG CT&CC. G-3 Rpts, 
AG (CCC) 319.1, KCRC. (2) Special G-l Rpt, Hq Eastern Comd CCC, 22 Jul 45. Folder, 
Histories 1945, 74th Army Combat Section CCC Files, KCRC. (3) Combined Staff Mtg 36, 
14 Apr 45. AG (CCC) 338.1, KCRC. (4) When Eastern Command was set up the strength 
of the 18th Army was not known. However, strength figures obtained later suggest the estimate 
given above as the army's strength before it became engaged with the enemy in mid-April. 



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Unit 



73 d Army Total 

Army Troops 

15th Division 

77th Division 

Temporary-5th Division 

74th Army Total (minus 58th Division) 

Army Troops 

51st Division 

57th Division 

58th Division 

100th Army Total 

Army Troops 

19th Division 

63d Division 

18th Army. . . .(estimated total strength, 2,331 officers, 29,030 enlisted men) 

11th Division 

18th Division . 

118th Division 



Unknown. 



Col. Woods King, commanding Eastern Command, began work with 
nineteen officers and thirty-four enlisted men. Following the basic CCC plan 
of creating an organization parallel to the Chinese staff" and command struc- 
ture, Colonel King organized his own headquarters with a chief of staff and 
the four general staff sections. Combat sections were organized to work with 
General Wang's three U.S. -sponsored armies: 18th Army Combat Section, 
Col. John P. Lake; 73d Army Combat Section, Col. Lester L. Lambert; 74th 
Army Combat Section, Col. Alexander H. Cummings. The 100th Army did 
not receive a liaison section until much later. As of 1 April, King had 109 
officers and 270 enlisted men under his command. 

Examining their problems, the Americans received the impression that 
General Wang's command had little if any interest in medical matters. 
"There was practically no medical personnel in the area at the time that this 
command was established. The existing hospital facilities were deplorable." 
The local Chinese also seemed indifferent to problems of supply and 
evacuation. 

Colonel King concluded that if he was to supply his own personnel, let 
alone get on with his mission, he would have to organize boatheads and 



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Col. Woods King 



truckheads, operate and maintain ferry crossings, and arrange for barge traffic. 
Since there was only a very limited American SOS operating in the area at 
the time, King improvised a supply and evacuation system with his own 
personnel. SOS began to establish itself and by April had four ferry cross- 
ings organized, river transport operating on three waterways, and boatheads 
and truckloads at seven sites. There was still no Chinese SOS, only some 
supply personnel. The medical problem was alleviated by the assignment 
to Eastern Command of the 34th and 44th U.S. Portable Surgical Hospitals. 10 
Before launching the 13- week unit training program, Eastern Command 
planned to create specialist schools for veterinary officers and technicians, 
medical personnel, and radio and switchboard operators. At the command 
headquarters, a school for senior Chinese officers was instituted. American 
liaison personnel were sent out to Wang's four armies and twelve divisions 
around 1 April to set up the training programs, both individual and unit. 
In the case of the 74th Army, by mid -April plans were complete and build- 

10 Hist Rpt, CCQ Apr-Sep 45, p. 9. OCMH. (2) Min, SOS General Staff Conf, 5 Apr 45. 
SOS China Theater Files, KCRC. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



273 



ings selected for signal technicians, while classes for veterinary and medical 
personnel were under way. Rifle, mortar, and machine gun ranges were 
largely completed by 16 April. Training aids were constructed and were 
ready for distribution. 11 

The team sent to the 57th Division, 74th Army, which may be taken as 
typical, comprised two liaison officers, one of field grade, a medical aid man, 
a radio team, and a Chinese major to interpret. The team had no transport 
and marched to its destination. Coolies helped carry its baggage. Included 
in the baggage were seven days' rations, later found "invaluable" as only rice 
and a little pork could be purchased. 

On arriving at the town in which 57th Division headquarters was located 
the team opened for business in a school building some two miles from the 
Chinese headquarters, but linked by wire communication. Commanded by 
Lt. Col. Douglas C. Tomkies, the team spent the first two weeks of April 
trying to build training aids, training courses, and rifle ranges. In dealing 
with the Chinese the Americans at first found them reluctant to divulge in- 
formation. The Chinese seemed to fear the Americans would promptly radio 
it to the rear and then in some way embarrass them. But gradually con- 
fidence was established, and only the barrier of language and custom slowed 
the flow of information. 12 

By mid-April, training areas and troop schools were ready in Eastern 
Command, specialist schools had gotten under way with their first classes, 
and the third classes for senior Chinese officers were in session. 

While these Sino- American activities were in progress, the Japanese had 
been completing some preparations of their own. Early in 1945 China Ex- 
peditionary Army had directed Sixth Area Army to prepare two sets of plans, 
for a raid on Chungking and for operations against Lao-ho-kou (near Hsian 
in northwest China) and the American airfields at Chihchiang. This was in 
compliance with the 22 January 1945 order of Imperial General Headquarters, 
which emphasized strengthening the lower Yangtze valley and north China 
against possible American attack. "Prolonged and systematic raiding" of 
interior China was directed by small units only. Advanced American air 
bases were to be destroyed. 1 ^ 

References to raids in interior China represented a cherished project of 
China Expeditionary Army, which had long been anxious to take aggressive 
measures against Chungking. Sixth Area Army was less optimistic and 
ambitious in its outlook. As the Japanese planning got under way in Febru- 

11 Hist Data, LXXIV Army Hq, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt, 1 Apr- 30 Jun 45, Sha-wan, 
Hunan Province. OCMH. 

12 Hist Data, Hq 57th Div, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt, 1 Apr-30 Jun 45, Yungkow, Hunan 
Province. OCMH. 

13 Japanese Study 129, pp. 70-74. 



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TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ary, Sixth Area Army decided that by April, the contemplated date of the 
operation against Chihchiang, it would be hard to accumulate sufficient 
strength for it. Of the two divisions supposed to take part, the 116th had 
been roughly handled at Heng-yang while the well-equipped and powerful 
47th was still in process of arrival from Japan. Sixth Area Army was there- 
fore inclined to think that the operation should aim only at reaching the 
Yuan Chiang, a stream which flows just west of the Eastern Command head - 
quarters at Sha-wan. In the light of past experience it seemed to the Japanese 
that if they reached a point near the airfield the Americans would destroy it 
and withdraw. 

Here entered the human factor. Okamura, the Japanese commander in 
China, was visiting the headquarters of the Japanese 20th Army, the organiza- 
tion scheduled to conduct the operation. He found 20th Army supremely 
confident, and so he decided to proceed with an operation directly against 
Chihchiang (which could serve as a base for the raiding operations that 
Okamura wanted) even though but one regiment of the 47th Division would 
be on hand in time for the operation. Therefore, with four regiments the 
20th Army prepared its drive on Chihchiang. This left it two divisions with 
which to garrison the stretch of 200 miles of vital railway from Tung-ting 
Lake above Changsha down to the city of Ling-ling. 14 In north China the 
Japanese prepared to take Lao-ho-kou as soon as possible. 

Examining the China scene on 1 February, Wedemeyer listed a drive 
through Chihchiang on Kunming as being among several Japanese capabili- 
ties but did not see any indication of it. He estimated that the Japanese 
would probably concentrate their forces on the coast and in the area of 
Changsha-Hankow-Peiping-Manchuria, an appraisal which was an almost 
entirely correct reading of the Japanese intentions. 15 By 17 February Japa- 
nese intentions were more apparent, and Wedemeyer warned the General- 
issimo that the enemy might try to take the airfields at Hsian, Lao-ho-kou, 
and Chihchiang. 16 

As China Theater's staff estimated the situation, the major Japanese threat 
would be against Chihchiang; Japanese attacks on or toward Hsian and its 
neighboring airfields would be of lesser though still considerable importance. 
Therefore, since Wedemeyer's U.S. resources were strictly limited, the major 
defensive effort would have to be made around Chihchiang. For the Hsian 
area, his staff carefully surveyed the situation and determined that the Chinese 
had some resources to supplement those in the I War Area at Hsian. The 
Americans believed that the forces in the Hsian area were in poor shape, 

14 Japanese Study 130, Map 3, pp. 56-59, 74. 

15 Rad CFB 32476, Wedemeyer to MacArthur and Nimitz, info Marshall, 5 Feb 45. Bk 2 
ACW Personal File. 

16 Min, Mtg 40, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 17 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



275 



with no training program and very short of equipment. In making this ap- 
praisal, they eliminated without further description the twelve divisions they 
thought were watching the Chinese Communists. Their suggested solution 
was a liaison team to assist in a training program whose major impetus 
would have to come from the Chinese, and the distribution of projected 
Chinese arms production to the I War Area. The planners estimated this 
arms production for the six months March- August 1945 inclusive at: 



Rifle, 7.92-mm 50,400 

Cartridge, 7.92-mm 58,700,000 

Machine gun, light 4,930 

Machine gun, heavy 1,425 

Trench mortar, 60-mm 1,388 

Trench mortar, 82-mm 840 

Shell, mortar, 60-mm 385,000 

Shell, mortar, 82-mm 517,500 

Gun, AT, 37-mm 3 

Shell, 37-mm. AT 5,000 

Grenade 1,842,500 

Mines 80,000 



Having reached these conclusions, China Theater did not let itself be 
distracted by the opening of the Japanese northern offensive on Hsian and 
Lao-ho-kou on 22 March, with some twenty battalions of infantry, an 
armored task force, and a modest complement of pack howitzers with a few 
150-mm. howitzers for siege work. To help Maj. Gen. Hu Tsung-nan's 
I War Area meet the drive, Wedemeyer sent a liaison team under Colonel 
Barrett to give training and technical advice, while Chennault sent air-ground 
liaison teams to direct the air support that his aircraft were soon giving 
under his personal leadership. 17 

In late March and early April, the forward movement of the Japanese 
toward their assembly areas in west Hunan Province began, giving an un- 
mistakable indication of their intent to attack toward Chihchiang. Chinese 
Combat Command's G-2 estimated that 20,000 Japanese were massed in the 
area about Pao-ching (Shao-yang), a road junction west of Heng-yang, with 
another 5,000 to the southwest. 18 

On 8 April 1945, as the northern Japanese forces were entering Lao-ho- 
kou, strong enemy patrols probed the Chinese outposts just west of the 
stream Tzu Shui, which runs from south to north a mile west of Pao-ching. 
That same day a Japanese force estimated at 2,000 moved west out of Pao- 

17 (1) Japanese Study 78. (2) Min, Mtg 48, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 5 Apr 45; Mtg 
40, 24 Apr 45. (3) Ltr, Col Barrett to Wedemeyer, 7 May 45, sub: Conf with CG First War 
Area. AG 337 Misc, Folder, Meetings from 1944 to 30 Aug 45, China Theater Files, KCRC. 
(4) Staff Study 11, Theater Planning Sec, 24 Mar 45. Register No. 06106-R, USFCT Files, 
DRB AGO. 

18 Ltr cited |n. 67] 



276 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



ching, and took up advanced positions, in the opinion' of Eastern Command 
to cover the forthcoming offensive. 19 

The Japanese threat required immediate countermeasures. The Chinese 
forces that would have to meet it initially were substantially as they had been 
in previous campaigns. "Little American equipment" had been received for 
General Wang's troops, while the training program through sheer lack of 
time had not progressed beyond schools for specialists and officers. 20 How- 
ever, Wedemeyer had made progress in the last few months, and there were 
assets present that were not at hand before. First, there seemed to have been 
no problems arising from Chinese domestic politics. Second, the American 
SOS helped supply food and ammunition on a systematic basis. Third, there 
was an American liaison net down to divisions so that there was usually 
timely information of Chinese movements and intentions. Fourth, Chen- 
nault's supply position was the best it had ever been. Last of all, there was 
what seems in retrospect an atmosphere of mutual co-operation between 
Chinese and Americans. 

The American Share in the Chihchiang Campaign 

As the Japanese were making their last-minute preparations, and as the 
Americans of Eastern Command were setting up their training program, the 
deployment of Wang's armies suggested that a Japanese drive on Chihchiang 
would trail its line of communications past the 73d Army at Hsin-hua, forty 
or so miles north of the Pao-ching-Chihchiang road, the 18th Army, at 
Chang-te, about 150 miles away to the north, and the 100th Army, forty-five 
miles northeast of Chihchiang. Only the 74th Army, deployed along the 
eastern edge of the hills that lie between Pao-ching and Chihchiang, was di- 
rectly between the Japanese and their goal. The 58th Division of the 74th 
Army was forty miles south of the Chihchiang road at Hsin-ning, and well 
forward of the main Chinese positions. The 57th Division was at Hua- 
yuan-shih near Tung-kou, on the road, and the 51st was northeast of Tung-kou 
at Shan-men. 

The first Japanese attacks on 8 April were estimated as made by two 
parallel columns of 2,000 men each, the northern moving west along the 
Chihchiang road and the southern toward Hsin-ning. The 74th Army thus 
faced a developing attack on a fifty-mile front. When it began, there were 
American liaison teams with the 51st and 57th Divisions, but the team for 
the 58th Division at Hsin-ning did not arrive until after that city had fallen. 21 

19 (1) Ltr citec j n 6.| (2) Ja panese Study 78. 

20 Annex I to MS cited fn. 8.1 

21 (1) G-3 Per Rpt, Hq CCC, 11 Apr 45; Hist Rpt, IV Army Gp Comd (successor to Eastern 
Command). Folder, Histories 1945, 74th Army Combat Sec; CCC Files, KCRC. (2) Hist 
Data, Hq, 58th Div, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt, 1 Apr-30 Jun 45. OCMH. 




Eastern Command Headquarters Conference at Chikhiang, From left. Gen- 
eta! Sultan; Brig. Gt-n. William Barkr. Chief of Staff. Chine* Combat Command: 
General McCiure: Maj. Gen. Gilbert X* Cbe its; and General Ho Ying-chm. 



278 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



As evidence of the weight of the Japanese thrust started coming in, the vari- 
ous headquarters began to react. By the 10th, Eastern Command was asking 
that movement of Mars personnel (instructors and demonstration teams) 
into the area be halted. Two days later General Wang asked that an army 
be sent to the Chihchiang area to act as mobile reserve. On 13 April the 
Japanese began a general advance. 22 

The CCC command and liaison system began to yield its first fruits on 
14 April. A general conference, attended by Ho and McClure, their respec- 
tive chiefs of staff, General Cheves of the SOS, and his staff, was convened. 
General Hsiao I-hsu, Ho's chief of staff, presented what became the basic 
plan of the campaign. Ho and McClure agreed to create troop concentra- 
tions on the north and south flanks of the Japanese drive. To the north 
three divisions from the VI War Area would be brought down to permit the 
18th Army in turn to move to the east of Hsin-hua. To the sduth, General 
Tang En-po's 94th Army was to move to Ching-hsien, whence it could 
threaten the Japanese south flank or cover the road from Kweilin into 
Kweichow Province. Thus, the Chinese would be ready for a double en- 
velopment. The center would be strengthened by moving in the elite 14th 
and 22d Divisions by air and truck, but only if the situation warranted. 
Every attempt would be made to hold the line Wu-kang-Hsin-hua, the forward 
edge of the hill mass mentioned above. 23 

The Generalissimo attempted to take an active part in the campaign, and 
Wedemeyer moved to forestall him. On 17 April Wedemeyer warned 
McClure that the Generalissimo was issuing orders to Ho and to General 
Wang's troops without referring them to the Sino- American combined staff. 
McClure was asked to see if Ho knew of such orders. 24 

While the Chinese regiments of the 74th and 100th Armies on the hills 
adjacent to the road to Chihchiang sought to stop or slow the Japanese ad- 
vance, and the 73d Army, which the Japanese were bypassing, began to move 
south, the decisions of the 14 April conference began to take effect. Up 
north, at Chang-te, the American liaison team with the 18th Army, under 
Colonel Lake, had been setting up a line of communications by river from 
the Chihchiang area, in conformity with what they thought to be their basic 
mission, training and supply. Now that task was laid aside, and Colonel 
Lake with the Chinese army commander, General Hu Lien, spent several days 
around 23 April trying to learn just what the 18th Army's mission was to be. 
Colonel Lake's headquarters was shifted south and west from Tao-yuan near 
Chang-te to Yuan-ling, the American SOS headquarters for the area. Hu 

22 Rads, Eastern Comd to CCC, 10 Apr, 12 Apr 45. AG (CCC) 311.23, KCRC. 

23 (1) In Radiogram CYF 13528, McClure to Wedemeyer, 15 April 1945, McClure's language 
indicates the plan is basically American. (2) Combined Staff Mtg 36, 14 Apr 45. AG (CCC) 
337.1, KCRC. (3) McClure comments on draft MS. 

24 Rad CFB 35833, Wedemeyer to McClure, 17 Apr 45. CCC Files, KCRC. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



279 



and Lake were first told that the 18th Army was to move to An-chiang, in 
the rear of the 74th. Forming a mobile command post group, Lake joined 
Hu's headquarters in the field and accompanied it during the rest of the 
campaign. Before the 18th reached An-chiang, the orders were changed. 
About twenty miles north of the road to Chihchiang, near Shan-men, the 
hills are big enough to be called a mountain, Pai-ma Shan. The 18th went 
there. 25 

To the south, the 94th Army, General Mou Ting-fang, was moving up 
to the scene of action. Troops of the 94th Army took orders from Tang 
En-po; that they should move from one war area to another to aid a neigh- 
boring commander was a major improvement over past practice. The 94th 
Army Combat Section, Col. George L. Goodridge, had joined them 6 Febru- 
ary. He understood that his mission was to assist in training and, since he 
had had considerable past experience, he was authorized to prescribe his own 
program, to be completed 1 June. A series of movement orders made it im- 
possible to get unit training under way, while only a few U.S. weapons were 
received. About 15 April the 94th Army was alerted; it received orders to 
move on the 16th, and got under way on the 25th. Colonel Goodridge, his 
G-2, and an intercepter "joined Mou's headquarters at his request and lived, 
ate, and moved with the general." 26 

On 15 April Colonel King of Eastern Command recommended that flying 
the 2 2d Division to Chihchiang begin at once, and the operation was code- 
named Rooster. The supplv situation there, according to the SOS, would 
just support the 22d plus two battalions of field artillery. About 8,000 tons 
of Hump tonnage would be needed to support the move, it was estimated. 
The progress of the Japanese advance continued over the next few days, so 
on 21 April Rooster began. By the 25th one regiment of the 22d Division 
with a battery of pack howitzers and a company of 4.2-inch mortars was in 
Chihchiang. Soon the 14th Division too was under way in trucks manned 
by the U.S. 475th Infantry Regiment. By 29 April there were 15,624 men 
of the New Sixth Army at Chihchiang, with more scheduled to arrive every 
day. A few days later, 3,750 soldiers of the 14th arrived by truck at An- 
chiang. Since but five Japanese regiments were making the attack, unless 
the Japanese chose to make it a major operation their last chance of taking 
the field probably was gone by 29 April, whatever happened on its 
approaches. 2 ^ 

But though Rooster made Japanese success at Chihchiang most 

" History of the American Combat Section [18th Army], 1 Jan 45-31 Mar 45, 1 Apr 45- 
30 Jun 45. CCC Files, KCRC. 

26 Rpt, 94th Army, American Liaison Team. Folder, History of III Group Command. CCC 
Files, KCRC. 

27 (1) Combined Staff Mtgs 38-46, 20 Apr-9 May 45. AG (CCC) 337.1, KCRC. (2) Ltr, 
Col Heavey to CG SOS, 28 May 45, sub: Rpt of Opns of Provisional Truck Organization. OCMH. 



280 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Chinese New Sixth Army Troops and ammunition are being transported across 
the river to An-chiang, en route to the front. 

improbable, it had negative effects elsewhere in China; the gasoline require- 
ments of the move could only be met by cutting Chennault's operations to 
air defense and reconnaissance. 28 

At the front along the road to Chihchiang and in the immediate rear, 
where American medical and supply installations were establishing them- 
selves, American liaison teams were with the 58th Division, now between 
Hsin-ning and Wu-kang; the 57th, between Tung-kou and Chiang-kou (Ta- 
chiang-kou) on the road to Chihchiang; and the 51st, to the north of the 
main road. 

The detachment with the 58th Division, a radio team and interpreter, was 
commanded by 1st Lt. Stan C. Hintze, a very junior officer for such a post, 
where he would perforce be advising a Chinese major general, but the short- 
age of personnel made it necessary. Lieutenant Hintze seems not to have 
tried to advise the commander on tactical matters but to have occupied him- 
self "aiding the division commander with the supply problem, air support, 

28 (1) Min, Mtg 50, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 24 Apr 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Min- 
utes. (2) Rad CAK 10127, Chennault to Wedemeyer, 22 Apr 45. CCC Files, KCRC. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



281 



and keeping up on the tactical situation." On 25 April the Chinese com- 
mander began to fall back on the main Chinese forces to the northwest. He 
left a reinforced battalion to garrison Wu-kang, and withdrew his division 
westward. A U.S. air-ground liaison team joined Lieutenant Hintze on 29 
April. Next day the Japanese Sekine Detachment (217th Infantry Regiment 
plus two battalions, 38th Infantry Brigade ) opened its attack. Orders from 
higher authority directed the division to fall back again, this time to the Wa- 
wu-tang area, northwest and seventeen miles southwest of Tung-kou, to 
previously prepared positions. 29 

The 57th Division Combat Section was commanded by Colonel Tomkies. 
When the division received orders to move up on the road to Chihchiang, 
Tomkies learned of the move through the Chinese, and since his radio was 
not working he had to send couriers to the 74th Army Combat Section to 
inform them of the move. Once the 57th was in action against the main 
force of the 116th Division on the Chihchiang road, Colonel Tomkies, assisted 
by two officers, kept in close touch with the tactical situation by having at 
least two U.S. officers at the front line every day. This was not easy, for the 
57th was fighting on a wide front over hilly, almost roadless ground. When 
the staff of Tomkies' section opened their headquarters at Chiang-kou they 
found 130 wounded Chinese around the local bus station. There was no 
Chinese evacuation system; next morning thirty of the men were dead. 
Thereafter the Combat Section was alert to send wounded to the rear by any 
American vehicle that entered the area. When, on 28 April, Colonel King, 
commanding Eastern Command, and General Barber, CCC chief of staff, 
visited the 57th Division, the CCC party told the Chinese division com- 
mander that the present line had to be held until 11 May. At the meeting, 
the division commander remarked that the Americans had been very helpful 
in bringing up ammunition and evacuating wounded. Somewhat earlier, on 
24 April, Tomkies took advantage of an inspection by the CCC G-2 to ask 
that automatic weapons be sent to the Chinese. Next day forty Bren guns 
arrived. 30 

The 51st Division had been the left (north) flank of the 74th Army, 
whose liaison officer was Colonel Cummings. By the third week in April 
it was apparent that the Japanese advance was being made by infiltration on 
the grand scale, with columns thrusting deep into the complex and jumbled 
hill mass and bypassing Chinese resistance. So when the 51st Division was 
moved to a point about fifteen miles northwest of Shan-men, probably to 
prevent any bypassing of the Chinese on the road to Chihchiang, it proved 
difficult to put the division into contact with the Japanese. The combat sec- 

29 (1) Hist Data, Hq, 58th Div, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt. 1 Apr-30 Jun 45, Wu-kang, 
Hunan Province. OCMH. (2) Japanese Study 78. 

30 Hist Data, Hq 5 7th Div, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt, 1 Apr-30 Jun 45, Tungkow, Hunan 
Province. OCMH. 



282 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



tion commander, Col. Louis V. Jones, with another officer, a radio team, and 
an interpreter, learned from the Chinese division commander that the latter 
was moving out with two regiments on 14 April. The third was to follow 
later. Colonel Jones decided to follow in the wake of the division and with 
forty-four transport coolies began his hike on the 16th. The next day by 
inquiring he found that the Chinese commander and his two regiments had 
gone past the valley along which the Japanese, probably one of the three 
task forces into which the 11 6th was now divided, were approaching from the 
east. That left the 151st Regiment alone to go into action against the Japa- 
nese that night, 17 April. Next day Colonel Jones was able to join the divi- 
sion commander and recommend a deployment for the division. Jones 
suggested bringing the 152d Regiment up into line on the left (north) of 
the 151st, to link with the 19th Division, 100th Army, to the north. To the 
south, there was no physical contact with the 57th Division, so the division 
held its six-mile front with its flank in the air. 

An air-ground team and air support were requested on 19 April. The air 
support arrived, one plane on the 20th and four on the 21st. Then the rain 
closed in and no air support could be given. This was unfortunate, because 
the Japanese 116th Division was now making considerable progress. The 
133d Infantry Regiment took Shan-men, which meant the Japanese now had 
a foothold in the hills. The rough terrain, which made a mile and a half an 
hour a good pace for hiking cross country, favored the defense, and the 
Chinese had held stoutly. 31 

Immediately to the north of the 74th Army, in the Pai-ma Shan area, the 
100th Army held positions in a line that ended about ten miles northwest of 
Lung-hui. The troops were in contact with the Japanese 109th Infantry Regi- 
ment all along their front, and were slowly withdrawing. Between the 100th 
Army and the 73d in the Hsin-hua area, thirty miles northwest of Lung-hui, 
was a considerable gap, into which the 18th Army was beginning to move. 
The 73d Army was in contact with a regiment of the 47th Division, and was 
facing south. The 73d was holding well, and replying to every Japanese 
gain with counterattacks. 32 

Behind the lines on which the Chinese were holding well in the center 
and moving forward on the flanks, American and Chinese logistical support 
of every variety was building up. When the campaign opened, saving only 
the two portable surgical hospitals, the nearest SOS units had been those of 
the Kweiyang Area Command, a good 200 miles away. 33 The Chinese sup- 
ply arrangements had seemed to Colonel King to be of the most inadequate 

51 (1) Hist Data, 74th Army, U.S. Combat Sec. CCC Files, KCRC. (2) Hist Data, Hq, 
51st Div, U.S. Combat Sec, Qtrly Rpt, 1 Apr-Jun 45. OCMH. 

« (1) Per Rpt, G-3 Hq CCC, 2 May 45 (for 21-28 Apr 45). CCC Files, KCRC. (2) Jap- 
anese Study 78. 

" Tab 22, G-4, China Theater, Per Rpt, 1st Qtr 1945. CCC and CT Records, KCRC. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



283 



sort. Then the Japanese drive began, and more of China Theater's meager 
resources were deployed in that direction. On 4 June the old Communica- 
tions Zone, China Theater, was subdivided into five base sections, four of 
which stretched out like a column of soldiers from Kunming to Chihchiang. 
Chihchiang became Base Section No. 4. In it by the end of the month were 
a base general depot, two platoons of the 21st Field Hospital, veterinary and 
malaria detachments, the 3447th Ordnance Medium Automotive Maintenance 
Company, and signal troops. 34 

The Chihchiang base supported forward truckheads and riverheads at 
eight different points, from An-chiang to Tung-kou on the east, and Hsin- 
hua to the northeast. The SOS delivered supplies to these points, where 
Eastern Command personnel took the responsibility of delivery by truck or 
sampan. 

When the campaign began there had been two portable surgical hospitals 
in the area, the 34th and 44th. Ultimately, the 32d and 35th joined, together 
with the 3d Platoon, 21st Field Hospital. The American personnel strength 
of Eastern Command went up proportionately, to 230 officers and 1,326 
enlisted men as of 1 May 1945, and to 264 and 1,509 respectively a month 
later. 35 

Though in looking back on the campaign Colonel King had been very 
critical of the Chinese medical arrangements as he saw them and though one 
American observer could not find much of an evacuation system, still the 
Chinese must have made a very real effort to meet the needs of their troops. 
As of mid-July there were eight Chinese base hospitals and six evacuation 
hospitals in the Eastern Command, together with a number of medical de- 
tachments. The Chinese were operating a base depot at Chihchiang as of 
mid-July, four intermediate depots, and eighteen forward depots. Ammuni- 
tion was issued from eight ammunition supply points. The base at Chih- 
chiang had seventeen days of supply for U.S.-sponsored divisions, and six- 
teen days for the Chinese. Four more points had five days of supply for 
U.S.-sponsored and Chinese units each, and two more had two days of supply. 
Rice was bought in the Tung-ting Lake area, carried south by junk and 
sampan, then transferred to trucks. 36 

34 See map opposite p. 227, G-4, China Theater, Per Rpt, 2d Qtr 1945. CCC and CT Rec- 
ords, KCRC. (2) GO 45, Hq SOS USFCT, 4 Jun 45. 
, " (1) Special G-l Rpt, Hq Eastern Comd, 2 2 Jul 45. CCC Files, KCRC. (2) MS cited 

GOO 

36 (1) Special G-4 Rpt, Eastern Comd, Hq CCC, 21 Jul 45. CCC Files, KCRC. (2) A day of 
supply in terms of rounds per weapon per day was prescribed by the War Department for each 
weapon. As of 31 March 1945, days of supply for certain important weapons in China Theater 
were: rifle, 3 rounds; machine gun, Bren, Maxim, Browning, 70 rounds; 37-mm. antitank, 5 
rounds; 75-mm. howitzer, 25 rounds; 81-mm. mortar, 8 rounds. Cir 36, Rear echelon, Hq 
USFCT, 19 Mar 45. Reproduced as Tab 4. G-4 Per Rpt, 1st Qtr 1945. CCC and CT Records, 
KCRC. (3) Ltr, Heavy to CG SOS cited |n. 27(2)] says the 475th's trucks were used as ambu- 
lances on one occasion. The accompanying Chinese arrangements seemed to him inadequate. 



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Chinese Boatmen aboard small sampan pour beans into sacks before unloading at the 
SOS warehouse. 



Over all this, the Fourteenth Air Force kept the skies. An occasional 
Japanese aircraft would be seen by liaison team members on what they took 
to be a reconnaissance mission, but the Japanese air force in China could no 
longer support the Emperior's soldiers in their last campaigns. The Chinese 
were supported in the Chihchiang campaign by the U.S. 5th Fighter Group 
with fifty-six fighters, and two squadrons of medium bombers. Eight air- 
ground liaison teams worked with the Chinese. Initially, the air-ground 
teams sent their requests for air support to a central control station at An- 
chiang, where the stream Yuan Chiang crosses the road to Chihchiang. 
Later, requests went directly to 5th Group headquarters. There the requests 
were accepted or rejected and, if accepted, given priorities. Fighters were 
then assigned as available, and armed with the weight and type of missile 
most suitable to the target. 

During the two -month campaign, the fighter group used .50-caliber 
ammunition at the rate of 1,800,000 rounds a month, and flew 3,101 sorties. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



285 



Napalm was introduced to the war in eastern China. The six medium 
bombers flew 183 sorties. 37 

The Test Successfully Passed 

As April began drawing into May, the Japanese advances became ever 
more localized. The Chinese held ever more strongly on the flanks, and 
Japanese advances were confined to the Chihchiang road sector. The Japa- 
nese took Tung-kou, but the Chinese were not disheartened, and a "stub- 
born swapping" of hills ensued. The front line, from south to north, was an 
arc along the points Wu-kang-Wawutang-Tung-kou-Shan-men-Hsin hau. 38 

From the south, the 94th Army (5th, 43d, 121st Divisions) was moving 
up toward the Japanese left flank and rear. The 43d Division was kept in 
army reserve; most of the fighting fell to the 5th Division. At 94th Army 
headquarters, the American liaison officer, Colonel Goodridge, his G-2, and 
an interpreter were in daily contact with the Army commander, General Mou 
Ting-fang. "Whenever the situation changed, the general called the liaison 
officer to the map and after explaining the situation, asked for his opinion. 
Usually a discussion of the merits of the plan followed with the general 
giving his reasons and ideas. In most cases the ensuing order followed along 
the lines of the plan suggested by the liaison officer." 

The 5th Division's officers and noncommissioned officers had completed 
two weeks of training, in tactics and weapons respectively, when orders to 
move east, to Tien-chu, arrived. The march was halted for one day while 
the division was under way for it to receive summer uniforms, medical sup- 
plies, and a second issue of lend-lease ordnance, submachine guns, 60-mm. 
mortars, and Bren guns. By 29 April the division was at Chang-pu-tzu, 
forty-five miles southwest of Tung-kou, and on a road that led to the 
Japanese left flank. Here the Chinese turned north. 

The 121st Division had also completed half of the noncommissioned and 
officer courses when it received orders to move. Some U.S. weapons were 
received, but lacked such accessories as rifle clips, bayonets, and slings. Like 
the 5th, the 121st received Bren guns and submachine guns while on the 
march. In its move eastward it took a course parallel to that of the 5th, 
but continued on to the next valley cast of the one up which the 5th was 
now advancing. The 121st thus proceeded to the Wu-kang area, then moved 
north to Lung-tien. 

The 5 th Division met the Japanese on 2 May at the entrance to the 
Wu-yang valley. Next day a conference with liaison personnel resulted in a 
decision to attempt an envelopment. Completed over the 5th and 6th, the 

37 The Army Air Forces. V, Ch. IX. 

58 Summary, G-3 Rpts, Hq IV Army Group (Eastern) Comd USFCT. Folder, Histories, 
1945, 74 Army Combat Sec, CCC Files, KCRC. 



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operation was a complete success, and yielded a fair amount of Japanese 
equipment including artillery, some documents, and six prisoners. On 7 
May the division began moving northeast into the adjacent valley where the 
121st was operating On the afternoon of the 11th it was in the area of 
Teng-tzu-pu, sixteen miles south of the Chihchiang-Pao-ching road, which 
was the main Japanese line of communications, and well east of Tung-kou. 

Meanwhile, the 121st Division had been moving steadily north up the 
Wu-kang valley, so that in effect the 5th Division crossed its line of march. 
The Japanese were repeatedly outflanked, and hustled north. The night of 
11 May the Japanese were observed to be burning the village of Kao-sha near 
the Chihchiang-Pao-ching road. The 94th Army had successfully turned the 
Japanese left flank. 

Reviewing the performance of the 121st Division, the liaison officer, Col. 
William M. Jackson, noted the beneficial effect of the American ration 
scheme, and the effectiveness of the 60-mm. mortar and submachine gun. 
He praised the aggressive spirit of the Chinese commanders, and the bravery 
of the men. The division commander discussed matters with liaison per- 
sonnel and his staff, then made his decision. Airdropping of ammunition 
and supplies was most effective, and helped greatly to raise morale. In the 
liability column, he noted that small units were reluctant to envelop, and 
when they did left open an escape route for the enemy, a criticism also ad- 
vanced by Colonel Goodridge for the 94th as a whole. There was not suffi- 
cient training in American weapons. Reconnaissance was usually poor. As 
a rule, unit commanders stayed in their command posts and operated with 
map and telephone. 39 

From the north, the 18th and 100th Armies were swinging down behind 
the Japanese even as the 94th Army was coming up from the south. The 
19th and 51st Divisions, 100th Army, had borne the brunt of the Japanese 
attempts to move west through the Pai-ma Shan area. On 11 May the 63d 
Division began to move, forcing the Japanese back toward Shan-men. These 
being flank positions, the Japanese held them stubbornly to allow their 
forward elements time to withdraw toward Pao-ching. But there were not 
enough Japanese present for them to guard every avenue of Chinese ap- 
proach, and on 11 May the 11th Division, Chinese 18th Army, which had 
been out to the north and east, swung back west to retake Shan-men. That 
same day the 118th Division, 18th Army, moved troops on to the Chih- 
chiang-Pao-ching road. During these operations the 18th Army took Japa- 
nese supply dumps and captured 500 head of horses. At this moment a 
Japanese disaster might have seemed inevitable, but higher Chinese head- 

39 Report by 94th Army American Liaison Team, from which the quotation was taken; A His- 
tory of 5th Div, 94th Army, 2 Sep 45; A History of 121st Div, 94th Army, 2 Sep 45. Folder, 
History of III Gp Comd, AG (CCC) 314.7, KCRC. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



287 



quarters intervened and ordered the 118th to move back off the road and let 
the Japanese retreat. 

The local Japanese headquarters, 20th Army, wanted to throw in the 
better part of two fresh divisions to retrieve the situation, but was overruled 
by 6th Area Army because the Japanese forces in China were now engaged in 
carrying out orders of Imperial General Headquarters for a redeployment of the 
greatest magnitude for operations of corresponding importance. Chihchiang 
airfield was not worth interfering with that. So the Japanese withdrew. 40 

The Generalissimo bypassed Wedemeyer and the Chinese Combat Com- 
mand, and on 6 May ordered Ho to seize Heng-yang, an action that would 
involve a major advance into Japanese-held territory. Learning of the order, 
Wedemeyer at once protested to the Generalissimo. As so often before, he 
pointed out that he as chief of staff could not co-ordinate Chinese and Ameri- 
can activities if orders of which he was not informed were given to subordi- 
nate commands. He also argued that the Chinese were not ready for a 
major operation, and closed by stating that he did not challenge the General- 
issimo's right to make decisions and would support them loyally once they 
were annouced. 41 The Generalissimo replied that the message to Ho was 
simply an opinion on his part, and that it had been issued as an order because 
of a misunderstanding by his staff. 

From this point, the Chihchiang campaign is a story of Japanese retreat 
to the original line of departure at Pao-ching. The campaign ended 7 June 
1945. The Chinese forces were not allowed to pursue the enemy farther 
because of logistical problems. Concentrating, arming, and supplying the 
Chinese in the Chihchiang campaign was a heavy drain on the air supply 
resources in China Theater. If the victory had been exploited, resources in- 
tended for Beta, the taking of the Canton-Hong Kong area, would have 
been consumed in a battle around Heng-yang and Changsha. If the Japanese 
had then been provoked into reinforcing the five regiments that had been so 
roughly handled, the outcome would have been unpredictable. So the 
pursuit halted, and Eastern Command was ordered on 29 May to guard 
against resources being drawn into a costly, premature advance by major 
units. On 22 June this injunction was reinforced by orders not to let the 
local Chinese commander, General Wang, engage in anything that might 
call for air supply. The Japanese were to be contained by diversionary 
action. 42 

. 40 ( 1 ) Japanese Study 130, p. 69. (2) For a discussion of current Japanese strategy, see below 

| Chapter XI .J 

qi (1) Memo 562 and Incls, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 9 May 45. Item 37, Bk 9, ACW 
Corresp with Chinese. (2) Min, Mtg 54, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 8 May 45. Bk 1, 
Generalissimo Minutes. 

42 (1) Annex III to MS cited n. 8. (2) Missions, Eastern Command and Fourth Area Army, 
Annex to MS, Historical Data of Eastern Command, 16 Aug 45. Folder, Histories, 1945, 74 
Army Combat Sec, CCC Files, KCRC. 



288 



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Waiting at Chanyi Airfield. Seasoned troops of the Chinese New Sixth Army are 
ready to emplane for the airlift to Chihchiang. 

Looking back on the Chihchiang campaign, the Japanese found they had 
suffered approximately 1,500 men killed, and 5,000 wounded. There was 
much of professional interest in their opponents' conduct of the campaign. 
"Most distinctive," to the Japanese, was the airlift of the New Sixth Army to 
Chihchiang. They did not notice anything of the "publicized moderniza- 
tion" of the Chinese forces except an increase in automatic rifles, presumably 
the submachine guns. The Chinese tactics in the Chihchiang campaign 
seemed to be a "great advance" over the past, and the Japanese were im- 
pressed by the work of the air-artillery-infantry team, accurate artillery fire, 
and concentration of fire on key points. In retrospect, some Japanese officers 
concluded that they failed because they did not take into account what their 
intelligence had warned them of— the improvement in the Chinese forces. 43 

43 (1) Japanese Study 78 has the casualty figures. (2) Japanese Study 130, p. 68. (3) The 
thirty-six-division program was discussed in the Chinese press, much to U.S. displeasure. Memo 
458, Gen Gross, Actg CofS, for Generalissimo, 22 Mar 45. Bk 16, ACW Corresp with Chinese. 
(4) Japanese Officers' comments on draft MS. 



MEETING THE FIRST TEST IN CHINA 



289 



The successful defense of Chihchiang cost the Chinese heavy casualties. 
The 18th, 73d, 100th Armies, plus the 13th and Temporary-6th Divisions, 
lost 256 officers and 6,576 enlisted men killed, and 504 officers and 11,223 
enlisted men wounded. To these figures must be added the unknown losses 
of the 94th and 18th Armies. 44 

Japanese operations in the Lao-ho-kou-Hsian area were more successful 
than those against Chihchiang, but only nominally, in that the Japanese did 
occupy the airfield at Lao-ho-kou. Chennault had been able to commit the 
311th and 81st Fighter Groups and the 426th Night Fighter Squadron of the 
AAF plus a fighter group and two bombardment squadrons of the Chinese- 
American Composite Wing, but by moving at night against slight Chinese 
resistance the Japanese had been able to occupy Lao-ho-kou. So far events 
had followed a familiar pattern. But at this point General Hu Tsung-nan's 
troops, whom the Japanese had rated as the best in China, counterattacked 
heavily. The weak Japanese 110th Division was soon in trouble and had to 
be reinforced with one artillery and two infantry battalions. This was in- 
sufficient, and finally a total of seven Japanese battalions had to be added. 
The Japanese finally stabilized their lines and the fighting died down, but 
only after losses they called "tremendous" after the war. While the fighting 
was under way, Colonel Barrett's liaison group worked to set up an infantry 
training center, whose doors opened 13 May. The center opened too late to 
affect the fighting in any way, and honors went to the team formed by Gen- 
eral Hu, his armies, and the Chinese and American airmen of General 
Chennault. 4 ' 

The Chihchiang campaign demonstrated that Chinese troops whose com- 
manders were determined to stand could successfully face the Japanese if they 
had sufficient numerical strength and a steady supply of food and ammuni- 
tion. In the Chihchiang campaign the Chinese used as many armies as the 
Japanese did regiments. By aggressive maneuvering they were able to out- 
flank the Japanese and force them to retreat. The strong and weak points of 
Chinese commanders, staffs, and troops were fully displayed. 

In the campaign, Wedemeyer's accomplishments to April 1945 were tested, 
and shown to be considerable. Indeed, the test was the more severe in that 
his system was far from being in full operation. The troops involved had 
not had unit training. The officers and noncommissioned officers had re- 
ceived only brief schooling. The Chinese soldiers had not received their full 
allowance of weapons, and had to get their familiarization training during 
march halts and between skirmishes. Had the Chinese divisions received the 

44 (1) Special G-l Rpt cited n. | 35 ( 1 )] (2) The disparity between Chinese and Japanese 
casualty figures does not necessarily reflect on the accuracy of the latter. As a rule, a force of 
higher professional quality than its opponent will inflict more casualties than it suffers itself. 

45 (1) Japanese Study 78. (2) The Army Air Forces, V, 264. (3) Hq Rpt, Hq I War Area 
Infantry Training Center to CO I War Area Liaison Team, 10 Jul 44, sub: Training Rpt. OCMH. 



290 



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contemplated twenty -six- week training, their performance would have been 
even better than it was. 

Outweighing these handicaps were the achievements that Wedemeyer had 
effected: an over-all plan of campaign into which local plans might be prop- 
erly fitted; a workable command system, both in the local Chinese forces and 
between the Allies; and a supply system which brought food and ammuni- 
tion to the critical areas. They were decisive to the campaign, and indicated 
that real progress was being made in China Theater. That the Chinese 
adopted procedures which may have seemed to them contrary to their ac- 
cepted practices reflected credit upon both their spirit of co-operation and the 
powers of persuasion of Wedemeyer, McClure, and their staffs. However, a 
critique of this campaign shows that there were flaws which should have 
been eliminated if successful offensive operations were to be conducted. 

The liaison system, through which the Chinese Combat Command was 
to have exercised virtual operational control of the Chinese, worked at a 
lower level than had been contemplated. After-action reports do not suggest 
that the commanders of the combat sections commanded the Chinese armies. 
Rather, the impression given is that the more aggressive and experienced 
American officers forcefully advised their Chinese associates, and that those 
less capable simply acted as liaison officers, with reportorial and supply 
functions. Several factors probably tended to make this so: 

1. For logistic reasons, the American physical contribution to the cam- 
paign did not go beyond a modest level of air support, some heavy weapons 
and ammunition, and some medical aid. Having largely to rely on their 
own resources, the Chinese tended to follow their own counsel. Had the 
Americans paid more to the piper, they might have done more toward call- 
ing the tunes he played. 

2. The system was meeting its first test. None of the parties to it were 
quite certain of their roles. Had time permitted, the workings of the liaison 
system might have conformed completely to Wedemeyer's intentions. There- 
fore, on all levels of command Chinese officers did things, such as allowing 
surrounded Japanese units to escape, which were completely contrary to 
Western ideas of war. 

The CCC's ingenious command and liaison arrangements took a long step 
forward toward a fully integrated Sino- American command structure during the 
Chihchiang campaign, but more months of training and campaigning would 
be needed before it could justly be said that CCC was functioning at full 
efficiency. 46 

46 For a lengthy criticism of the campaign see Training Memo 8, Hq Eastern Comd, CCC, 
12 Jul 45, Notes on Western Hunan Campaign. Folder, Histories 1945, 74 Army Combat Sec, 
CCC Files, KCRC. 



CHAPTER X 



Role of the India-Burma Base 

"With the taking of Lashio on 6 March 1945, which meant the substantial 
accomplishment of India-Burma Theater's combat mission, theater head- 
quarters lost its immediate concern with combat. Its primary attention was 
now given to logistical support of China Theater and SEAC, which were 
still fighting. Logistical matters were the sphere of the SOS, but since India- 
Burma Theater headquarters had no longer to deal directly with combat, 
troop training, or strategy, the two headquarters, SOS and theater, were 
sharing common concerns. 

Because the two were working on different but related aspects of the 
same problems, they both were concerned about finding men to fill the vacant 
spaces in Wedemeyer's theater organization, the supply and health of their 
own men, the best way to operate the new Ledo Road (or Stilwell Road as it 
came to be called), and deciding whether the Hump or the Stilwell Road 
should be expanded to meet the anticipated needs of China Theater. SOS 
for many months had primary concern in the routine but often absorbing 
tasks of operating its complex of ports, warehouses, pip elin es, roads, and 
railroad at ever greater efficiency. (See Maps] 1 \and \ 2 j > Operations 
necessarily involved two things, organizations and men to operate them. 

A Unified Command Structure 

When the CBI Theater was split in October 1944 the relationship of 
India-Burma Theater headquarters and SOS was still in process of evolution. 
During 1944 General Covell, the SOS commander, had advanced a number 
of suggestions, the trend of which lay toward giving SOS all operational 
responsibilities in the field of logistics. It appeared that theater headquarters 
was willing to have SOS organize a construction service and a transportation 
service, which would conduct those two major activities, but it was still 
reluctant to divest itself of signal functions and special staff sections such as 
ordnance, chaplain, chemical warfare, and judge advocate. There the matter 
stood when the theater was split. 



292 



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P-51's Moving Through the Streets of Karachi. Unloaded from Liberty ships 
in Karachi Harbor, these fighter planes are being hauled to Karachi Air Base. 



The operational structure of SOS after the split and during the winter of 
1944-45 provided: 

Base Section No. 1 Centering about the port of 

Karachi 

Base Section No. 2 Centering about the port of 

Calcutta 

Intermediate Section No. 2 . . . . Headquarters at Chabua 

Advance Section No. 2 Headquarters at Ledo 

Developments after the organization of India-Burma Theater were making 
the existing relationship between SOS and the theater obsolete, while the 
eastward course of SOS activities was forcing corresponding changes in its 
organization. In 1942 the Japanese had been such a threat to Calcutta that 
SOS activities had centered about Karachi, on the eastern side of India, and 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



293 



shipping had been routed there. By the end of 1943 Calcutta was the princi- 
pal U.S. port in India, while Karachi was operating more or less on a stand- 
by basis. By 1945 hardly one ship a month was docking at Karachi for 
India-Burma Theater. Inactivation of Base Section No. 1 was in order, and 
was accomplished on 15 May 1945. Henceforth, base activities in India were 
controlled by Headquarters, Base Section, at Calcutta. Inactivation of the 
port did not mean the end of SOS interest in the Karachi area, for Karachi 
Air Base was the ATC's Indian port of entry and a major center of Air Forces 
activity. So, though the Air Forces assumed supply responsibility, there 
remained in the Karachi area hospital and refrigeration facilities, such Quar- 
termaster functions as malaria control and food inspection, the area engineer, 
and a rail transportation office. 

With the inactivation of Base Section No. 1, renaming the sections within 
the SOS seemed in order, so Base Section No. 2 at Calcutta became simply 
Base Section, Intermediate Section No. 2 at Chabua became Intermediate Sec- 
tion, and Advance Section No. 3 at Ledo became Advance Section. Given 
the concept that all of India-Burma Theater, or IBT, was the supply base 
for China Theater, the Base Section thus became the port of debarkation for 
incoming supplies and personnel. Intermediate Section, in which lay the 
Hump airfields and a general depot, was the port of embarkation for China. 
The Advance Section now operated the ground line of communications to 
China, which, with its Stilwell Road, pipelines, airfields, warehouses, ordnance 
maintenance plants, and the like, was itself a major operation. 

As for the theater headquarters— SOS division of responsibility and 
personnel, the question of redistributing functions was raised again shortly 
after the theater split. The suggestion that the Commanding General, SOS, 
become theater G-4 was weighed, but for the present rejected. Finally, in 
December 1944, the special staff sections of the two headquarters were 
amalgamated. The chief of each of the resulting sections then assumed a 
dual responsibility, as theater chief of service and as head of the SOS section. 
This arrangement meant that in one capacity he was technical adviser to the 
theater commander, and in another he bore the operational responsibilities 
proper to his branch of service as part of SOS. Troops released by this step 
were assigned to China Theater. 

The actual amalgamation proceeded in a series. Thus, the theater 
engineer's office was consolidated with the SOS Construction Service by 11 
January 1945. SOS's provost marshal became the Deputy Provost Marshal, 
IBT. The two Information and Education Sections merged 23 April 1945. 
With the special staff sections having completed amalgamation, and with the 
end of combat for troops under IBT control meaning that logistics would 
henceforth be the major theater concern, there seemed no reason to hesitate 
longer in merging theater and SOS headquarters. At 0001, 21 May, the 



294 



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merger took effect. SOS was formally inactivated. Theater G-4 in effect 
was the successor of the SOS commander. 

Merging the two headquarters did not bring about any conspicuous saving 
in manpower. The SOS historian, Lt. Col. Harry L. Mayfield, considered 
that the greatest benefit lay in eliminating duplication of effort. After 21 
May events brought so many developments in the realm of logistics that it 
was fruitless to estimate whether the course of operations was better or worse 
than if the merger had not been effected. One of the most conspicuous 
events to follow on the amalgamation was that General Covell was called 
back to the United States to take charge of a major activity in the Office of 
the Quartermaster General. 1 

Personnel Management Problems 

Without men and women to make them a reality, organizations and 
projects are so much paper. The personnel situation in India-Burma Theater, 
if not more difficult than in Europe or the Southwest Pacific, surely was the 
more colorful. The Americans themselves were of course a fair cross-section 
of the United States, drawn from many races and creeds, but all of them 
Americans and most of them leaving the impression that they wanted nothing 
better than the speediest possible return to what they half jokingly, half 
fondly called "Uncle Sugar." 2 As individuals, the 200,000-odd Americans in 
India and Burma, as in any theater, offered almost as many personal situa- 
tions, but their superiors who had perforce to deal in large numbers found 
that certain general problems clearly emerged. The most important was 
that of transferring men to China. Then there were rotation and replace- 
ment, minority groups in the Army, and\ medical problems. And, since the 
War Department had a policy of keeping to a minimum the number of 
Americans shipped to India, Indian and Burmese civilians were hired in 
tens of thousands. 

The most important personnel problem in India and Burma was that of 
finding men who could be spared to join Wedemeyer in China. General 
Sultan, IBT commander, expressed his awareness and his policy clearly: "We 
must help China. That is our job. We must give, and give till it hurts." 
And again, "If there is a shortage we must both get on with less." 3 IBT's 
problem in applying this policy was how not to give so much and such 
important manpower to China Theater as to impair its own ability to function. 

Immediately after the theaters split, almost every section of theater and 

1 History of IBT, II, 208-16, 237-40. 

2 In the phonetic alphabet used in 1944-45, the letter S was rendered as sugar, so U.S. and 
Uncle Sam were quickly changed to Uncle Sugar. 

3 History of IBT, I, 49. 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



295 



SOS headquarters yielded some officers and men for China duty. As the 
process of amalgamation described above proceeded, surplus troops were 
offered to China. Among them were the theater Engineer, Quartermaster, 
and Chemical Warfare Sections en bloc. These transfers numbered 108 
trained staff personnel. All the American troops at Ramgarh Training Center 
were earmarked for China Theater, and were sent there as Ramgarh reduced 
its activity. These were of course piecemeal transfers but every man helped. 4 

On 1 December 1944 China Theater called for 1,784 officers and 7,516 
enlisted men. The Mars Task Force, on completing its mission, was a 
logical source of men for the 6,800 that Wedemeyer wanted to put in the 
Chinese Combat Command. For the SOS Wedemeyer wanted 2,000, and 
there, as SOS Headquarters combed its rosters, a clash developed between the 
desire to help China Theater and the necessity of keeping SOS operational. 
One immediate source of manpower was the seven quartermaster truck com- 
panies and one medium automotive maintenance company, organized as the 
Lux Convoy, which had arrived in India after an abortive attempt to deliver 
vehicles overland from Iran via the USSR to China. Here were 1,000 officers 
and men, all qualified to cope with China Theater's perennial and crippling 
transport problem. The rest of the desired 2,000 had to be found over the 
months ahead. Inactivation of the Karachi base yielded 107 men. 

While the search to fulfill China Theater's December request was under 
way, further requests continued to come in from that theater, one of them 
for "all key officer and enlisted personnel" at Calcutta. Granting this request 
would have greatly hindered the port activities on which China Theater no 
less than IBT depended, so it could not be met. Nonetheless, movement 
of personnel to China continued steadily. 

Between October 1944 and May 1945, SOS was able to find 257 officers, 
7 warrant officers, and 746 enlisted men from its several headquarters for serv- 
ice in China. In addition, it transferred to China sixteen units totaling 3,762 
men. The greatest single category was four companies and one detachment 
of engineer petroleum distribution units. In addition a medium automotive 
maintenance company, an ordnance ammunition company, a convalescent 
camp staff, a signal repair company, plus detachments of military police, 
quartermaster, engineer construction, and medical supply troops, were sent. 5 

While some soldiers were being sent from India to China, others were 
earning the right to be sent home to the United States, thus another set of 
problems was created. Recognizing that long service in the tropics affects 
the health of men from temperate climes, the War Department announced a 
policy of rotating men back to the United States after two years overseas, 
provided a replacement was at hand. This decision had hardly begun to take 

4 History of IBT, I, 50-56. 

5 SOS in IBT, I, 44-50. 



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effect, when the steadily increasing likelihood of Germany's defeat made it 
necessary to set up a system for releasing men from the armed services, a step 
toward demobilization. 

The operation of these two policies, by May 1945, was producing a back- 
log of men eligible for return. Those who were eligible for rotation were 
not to go until replacements were at hand. These were slow in coming. 
As of February 1945 there were 4,586 troops eligible for rotation, against a 
monthly quota of 1,900 men. The biggest increases in troop strength in 
China-Burma-India had been from mid-1943 on; plainly, the number of 
eligibles was about to surpass the quota by far. The point system for 
repatriation and prospective demobilization produced another list of im- 
patiently waiting men. As of 12 May 1945 there were 5,000 men in IBT 
who had 85 or more points and were therefore eligible, if no more than 5 
percent of the unit strength was involved. Another 22,000 had more than 
70 points. Many of them were airmen, who were given in effect a point 
for every mission flown. 

Replacements for these men capable of filling their posts were hard to 
find and slow to arrive. On arrival they sometimes proved to be untrained 
for the posts they were to fill, and had to be retrained in India. Nor was air 
travel space always available. So the backlog grew, even though, by 30 
June 1945, 3,408 high-point men had been returned to the United States. 

The following is an example of the maneuvering that might arise after 
the arrival of a replacement who did not quite fit the post for which he was 
desired: 6 

When the Adjutant, 330th Engineer Regiment, became eligible for rotation, the 
replacement furnished was a captain of the Adjutant Generals Department. Unfortu- 
nately, the current Table of Organization for an Engineer General Service Regiment did 
not permit assigning a Captain, AGD, to such a unit. 

Meanwhile, in Headquarters, Advance Section, a Captain, AGD, was eligible for rota- 
tion. However, no requisition for a replacement had been submitted, possibly because his 
promotion to major had been recommended, and it may have been understood that he 
would stay on in India. 

In the Intermediate Section, a captain in the Corps of Engineers was eligible for rota- 
tion, and was awaiting arrival of a replacement. 

Last of all, there was a major, of the Adjutant General's Department, in Advance 
Section, who had been selected for rotation. 

At the cost of considerable paper work, all four of these situations were combined to 
find a proper adjutant for the 330th Engineer Regiment. The key man in the resulting 
moves was the engineer captain in the Intermediate Section. Instead of being rotated, he 
agreed to go to the United States for 45 days rest and recovery, which meant that he 
would come back to duty in India. His replacement therefore went to the 330th. The 
Captain AGD who had been originally scheduled for the 330th as a replacement went to 
Advance Section, and the Captain, AGD, in that headquarters was approved for promotion 



6 Paraphrased from SOS in IBT, I, 50-51. 



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and rotation. His promotion was charged against the vacancy left by the Major in Advance 
Section, who was also rotated. 

Not every one of the men who went home caused so much rearrangement 
but, as the example suggests, the aggregate impact of the thousands of 
replacements was considerable. 

The changes described, which have some of the aspects of a puzzle, show 
what can be done by G-l when the individual's capacities and needs are 
rather standardized. But there were many people in or working with the 
Army who could not be easily categorized, and they caused problems in hous- 
ing, recreation, clothing, and diet. 

Social Problems 

In large measure, the Stilwell Road was a monument to the strength, 
skill, and endurance of the Negro soldier." About 60 percent of the U.S. 
troops who worked on the road were Negro engineers. Their superiors con- 
sidered that their morale was higher than that of the white soldiers working 
on the road, but that their efficiency was less. The reason for this latter, 
the Advance Section thought, lay in a lack of previous training, a lack of 
responsibility, and a lack of pride in accomplishment. If Advance Section 
was correct in its analysis, these traits were all remediable, and action was 
taken. Schools in engineering and in operation of equipment were organized, 
and an orientation program was instituted. 

The basically healthy racial situation in the Advance Section, where most 
of the Negro troops were, produced a "marked absence of those incidents 
normally associated with inter-racial conflicts." All recreational facilities, 
from theaters to sports, were nondiscriminatory. One troubled area was in 
relations between Negro troops and the local peoples. Incidents between 
Negroes and Indians were out of proportion to the number of Negro troops. 
The explanation may be a simple one— that the Negro troops mingled more 
freely with the Indians than did their white comrades, and that if the numbers 
of contacts could be correlated, the incidents would fall into a truer proportion. 

In the Calcutta base section, an error in judgment in locating recreational 
facilities for Negro troops at Howrah led to considerable criticism. For 
whatever reason the base section commander placed the recreational facilities 
inside a section of Calcutta which he had already declared out of bounds. 
Moreover, they were used for rest and recreation by Negro soldiers from the 
Ledo area. Troops, on leave from the Advance Section, found the facilities 
largely monopolized by Base Section men. And, as should have been fore- 
seen, locating the rest camp near the brothels of Calcutta meant that the 

7 This and the following paragraph based on SOS in IBT, App. 4. 



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venereal disease rate reached alarming proportions. The situation went 
through the course of official inquiry during the latter part of 1944. Finally, 
in February 1945, the rest camp was. relocated in a more appropriate section 
of Calcutta. In the next two months the venereal disease rate dropped 
sharply, as did also the number of disciplinary incidents. 8 

The problem of finding suitable housing and recreational facilities for 
Negro troops, at a time when the U.S. Army still practiced racial segregation, 
was not unlike the problem of finding suitable living and recreational quarters 
for the members of the Army Nurse Corps and Women's Army Corps who 
were sent to India. They, too, were a minority in a system best adapted to 
the gregarious, easy-going young male. In the first quarter of 1945 there 
were 1,017 nurses and 256 Wacs in India. The nurses had been in India 
since 1942; the Wacs arrived in July 1944 for duty with the Tenth Air Force 
headquarters. 9 

Finding living quarters for the nurses that would allow them comfort, 
privacy, and security was a problem that took time to solve in India proper. 
In the forward areas, tents had been the rule and service a real hardship. 
The result, in the opinion of the Theater Surgeon General, was tension and 
fatigue. Finding cool, sturdy, comfortable, and attractive clothes in enough 
quantity to permit frequent changes was another problem, for experience 
revealed that the basic uniform allowances were inadequate. 

Trying to profit by these earlier experiences, Tenth Air Force headquarters 
made elaborate preparations to receive the Wacs. But the preparations were 
of necessity made by men, and not every need was foreseen. Thus, no slacks 
were provided for evening wear during the mosquito season, nor did the 
clothing allowance provide enough changes. The local mosquitoes carried 
malaria, and the doctors insisted that the women wear slacks. Fortunately, 
the Wacs were near Calcutta, and the Indian tailor, with his ample store of 
light cottons and clever needle, soon had the girls smart and comfortable in 
Indian khaki. 

By March 1945 the theater surgeon was ready to conclude that the two 
biggest problems connected with women serving in India had been the early 
lack of appropriate housing and the lack of co-ordinated administrative con- 
trol. The second point probably reflects the fact that Army nurses were of 
necessity stationed about the theater in little groups, and might have been 
helped by a small central office co-ordinating personnel problems. The 
surgeon felt that women stood the physical strain of the Indian climate as 
well as men. 

8 SOS in IBT, I, 58-59. 

9 Bringing Wacs to India was against Stilwell's wishes. See Mattie E. Treadwell, The Wom- 
en's Army Corps, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1955), Ch 
XXIII. 



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Some of the problems facing servicewomen came from the theater's 
marriage policy. In 1942 Stilwell had directed attention to the fact that 
under War Department policy marriages had to receive his prior permission. 
His motive in making this announcement, he explained privately, was "to 
prevent the mixed calamities that would develop." At that time, U.S. im- 
migration laws would not have permitted an Indian or Anglo-Indian bride to 
enter the United States; diplomatic repercussions were feared if Americans 
were allowed to wed only British girls. In March 1944 a new policy de- 
veloped when an officer about to return home asked permission to wed a 
British girl. Permission was granted, thus informally establishing a new 
policy that marriage was permitted if either party was about to leave the 
CBI Theater, permanently, within thirty days. Marriage was also permitted 
in cases of pregnancy. 

Such marriage policies met with severe criticism. It was argued that they 
encouraged clandestine weddings, and put a premium on illegitimate preg- 
nancies. The problem was regarded as deserving serious study, and the 
opinions of the theater judge advocate, chaplains, nurses, and others were 
obtained. 

As a result, General Sultan approved a new order, effective 19 April 1945, 
under which two U.S. citizens could wed any time after a three-month wait- 
ing period. U.S. citizens were permitted to wed other nationalities when 
either person was scheduled to leave the theater within three months after 
the wedding. 10 

That the marriage question reached so high a level of command was 
perhaps because the number of Indians employed by the U.S. Army was high 
in proportion to the number of Americans stationed in India, — roughly, one 
Indian to every three Americans. There was also the circumstance that the 
Americans were in a sense guests in the Indian home. Good relations with 
the Indians would be a matter for the continuing attention of the theater 
commander. As of June 1945, over 70,000 Indians and Burmese, many of 
them women, were employed by the U.S. Army. The resulting scene, in 
supply depots and headquarters, and out along the Stilwell Road, was a 
picturesque one. 

In a base area, for example, one might see at the door of a building the 
jaunty little Gurkha watchman, with small, sturdy frame, Mongolian features, 
ready smile, broad-brimmed hat turned up at one side, and the deadly, broad- 
bladed knife of the Gurkha tribesman at his side. In the corridor the visitor 
was sure to see, squatting sadly and patiently, a black -skinned sweeper, 
descendant of India's first inhabitants. Behind the typewriters there would 
be slim Anglo-Indian girls, brown-skinned, large-eyed, often fiercely British 

10 (1) History of IBT, II, 269-88. (2) SOS in IBT, pp. 44-66. (3) Treadwell, The Wom- 
en's Army Corps, Ch. XXIII. 



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in speech and custom. The clerks were sophisticated young Hindus of the 
commercial castes and sects. Sometimes college graduates, almost always 
great students of the cinema, fond of debating politics and religion, they 
could be seen in the morning cycling to work in swarms. Among these 
people there moved the Americans, wearing khaki that was worn and faded 
at the hands of the Indian washerman, plagued by the minor complaints 
with which India afflicts the stranger, but bringing to their work a driving 
energy new to the subcontinent. Meanwhile, in the streets and bazaars, the 
pageant of India continued, seemingly heedless of the Western visitors, but 
with many of the actors determined that when the war ended India would 
go her own way. 

In the Advance Section, building the line of communications to China 
made it necessary to assemble a labor force varied in the extreme. Units of 
the Indian Pioneer Corps worked in areas where Japanese might be en- 
countered; elsewhere contract labor was used. The contract workers had 
no common tongue (though many understood a few words of Hindustani, 
the lingua franca of India) and shared few customs, which meant it was neces- 
sary to serve a most varied diet. These people included Mahrattas, Madrasis, 
Bengalis, Hindu and Moslem Punjabis, and from the tribal and hill folk, 
Chamars, Oryias, Bihari aborigines, Garos, Nepalis, and Gurkhas. To para- 
phrase a famous epigram, the labor force on the Stilwell Road was an anthro- 
pologist's dream but a mess sergeant's nightmare. 

To hire these people, Advance Section filed estimates of its future needs 
with Eastern Army, the Indian Army headquarters for the Assam section of 
India Command. Eastern Army then undertook to have them on hand. 
Civilians for other than construction work were hired through local em- 
ployment offices set up under Advance Section. General Headquarters 
(India)— GHQ(I)— the highest echelon of the Indian Army, co-ordinated 
hiring to avoid competition between Allied agencies. Pay and workmen's 
compensation were furnished by the Government of India under reciprocal 
aid. The importance of local labor can be judged by the estimate that it 
supplied about 7,800,000 man-days for building the Ledo Road as against 
the 6,618,000 of the U.S. Army engineers and 735,000 of Chinese Army 
engineers. 11 

Employment of Indians was also an experiment in social adjustment. 
Admittedly, generalization is difficult in so great and complicated a sphere, 
but some observations may be acceptable. The Indians who worked for the 
Americans were markedly loyal to their employers. India had strong tradi- 
tions of loyalty to the immediate superior, reflecting the medieval past which 
never seemed far behind in that country in the early 1940's. It meant the 

11 (1) Data on man-days from History of IBT, I, 194-95. (2) History of IBT, II, 279-81. 



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Indian largely identified himself with the Americans. On the other hand, 
the tempo of Indian life was that of the slow -moving tropics, where people 
conserve energy, and so to the Americans the Indians sometimes seemed 
lethargic and their work slipshod. The observer could also see that many 
of the lower-caste Indians who furnished common labor were under- 
nourished and weakened by fever. Consequently labor gangs had to be 
larger than expected until steady work at good wages permitted a better diet 
and more energy. But when all was said and done, the Americans in India 
could not have done their work without the help and friendship of India's 
people. 

Relationships between the two groups were good. Racial prejudice, to 
one observer at least, was not conspicuous. Indians and Americans seemed 
to accept one another as individuals. The easy-going social democracy of 
the Americans, their generosity with their resources, personal and official, may 
have had a greater impact on India than could be imagined at the time. The 
willingness of the Americans to perform manual labor, their liking for and 
understanding of machinery, were suggestions that not every society insisted 
on rigid caste distinction, that the Americans, by Indian standards wealthy 
and powerful as so many lords, might have become so through their own 
effort and ingenuity. 

Preventive Medicine 

Figures on the troop strength of the theater and its subordinate commands 
have been given above. They are deceptive, because the unsanitary environ- 
ment in India produced a correspondingly high rate of malarial and intestinal 
infections. On any given day many men were ill, and still more, though 
not sick enough to stop work, were not well enough to work at full effi- 
ciency, even within the limits imposed by the heat and damp of India and 
Burma. Summer was the wort time for sickness. Thus in the summer of 
1943 and again in summer 1944, the admission rate for the old China- 
Burma-India Theater soared to about 1,500 admissions per 1,000 men per 
year. Then, in winter, it dropped below the 1,000 mark. 

Malaria control had been slow in getting under way in India and Burma. 
Atebrin suppressive therapy was not begun in forward areas until April 1944. 
Not until winter 1944-45 did large amounts of the effective insecticide, 
DDT, arrive. Perhaps the most powerful single influence toward remedying 
a health situation that severely strained the theater's personnel resources was 
the establishment of a Preventive Medicine Section in the Theater Surgeon's 
Office, 22 August 1944. Most of the theater's sicknesses came from intestinal 
disease and malaria, which were controllable by methods that were well 
understood at the time and whose rigid application was in great degree a 



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command problem. The new section used the method of closely supervising 
the preventive measures of lower echelons. Vigorous letters, with the 
authority of the theater commander behind them, pointed out deficiencies 
and suggested remedies. 

In fall 1944 responsibility for malaria control was placed on unit com- 
manders. The Medical Corps relinquished many of the operational responsi- 
bilities it had perforce assumed. These went to the troops, with the 
Quartermaster and Engineer Corps taking over those phases of malaria con- 
trol previously allotted them by the War Department. Air spraying with 
DDT was continued. The most thorough and vigorous application of both 
suppressive and preventive measures was enjoined by theater circulars in 
January 1945, and commanders were held responsible for their application. 

The several forms of dysentery plus fevers of unknown origin were a 
problem little less serious than malaria. The known causes of such com- 
plaints were attacked with a great deal more vigor than before. Thus, 
Sanitary Corps engineers were attached to all but the smallest subsection 
headquarters, and given staff responsibility for water purification. Water 
purification specialists were assigned to subordinate units in all sections. 
Water pumps and chlorinators had been in short supply, but by May 1945 
this shortage was ended. Fly control was sought by screening, DDT, better 
garbage disposal, and proper latrine construction. The fly population could 
not be fully controlled, through lack of something to suppress fly breeding. 
Indian mess assistants were forbidden to handle foods, and ample hot water 
was provided, as well as a germicidal rinse for dishes. Since many troops 
were stationed near Indian cities, the out-of-bounds weapon was used against 
insanitary restaurants, while eating places that tried to meet proper medical 
standards were allowed to buy Quartermaster chlorine compounds. 

Thanks to these steps, admission rates in India-Burma Theater dropped 
sharply beginning in fall 1944, the fall in the malaria rate from 320 per 1,000 
to 20 per 1,000 being most dramatic. The improvement did not reflect any 
large withdrawal from the Assamese and Burmese jungle areas to more 
salubrious parts; troop strengths in those areas in August 1945 were sub- 
stantially what they had been on 31 October 1944. 

Preventive measures may also have averted a serious outbreak of smallpox. 
From October 1944 to June 1945 there were 6 cases and 4 deaths, as against 
20 cases and 6 deaths in 1944. This did not seem a great number of cases, 
but it was quite out of line with the incidence for the U.S. Army. Attempts 
were made to improve clerical procedures so as to ensure accuracy in record- 
ing immunization reactions. Proper strength and uniform quality of vaccine 
were obtained by designating one Indian laboratory as the sole source of lymph. 

The other great scourge of India, cholera, was no problem. Cholera 
vaccine was given to all troops, and those in the Calcutta area were given 



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lectures on avoiding potential sources of infection, like Indian soft drinks. 
Cholera statistics in the Indian press taught their daily lesson. 12 

Reciprocal Aid and Lend-Lease to India 

The men and women who made up India-Burma Theater were, as noted 
above, largely fed, and almost completely clothed, by the farms and factories 
of India. In 1942 the War Department had proclaimed the policy of using 
local resources in order to conserve shipping. India had co-operated whole- 
heartedly, and both the American forces in India and the American-trained 
Chinese divisions were fed and clothed, and the Chinese paid, by the 
Government of India. 13 

Two problems involving reciprocal aid confronted IBT between December 
1944 and June 1945. The first was the possibility that the volume of recip- 
rocal aid to the Chinese and U.S. forces in India and Burma might decrease; 
the second, the extent of the Indian commitment to supply Chinese divisions 
after they had left Burma for China. 

When the China-Burma-India Theater split in October 1944, the U.S. 
staff in New Delhi feared that certain indications from the Government of 
India presaged a cutback in reciprocal aid. SOS did not make the situation 
a major issue, but took the attitude of meeting problems as they arose in 
following months. Late deliveries were promptly and politely protested, 
while IBT's new power of screening lend-lease bids by the Indian Army and 
SEAC gave a potent lever. But as the months went by it became apparent 
that though the pronouncements of Indian officials might reveal a sense of 
economic strain the Government of India was actually increasing the dollar 
value of reciprocal aid. The explanation probably lies in the fact that the 
amount of petroleum, oils, and lubricants supplied grew so rapidly as to off- 
set declines in construction, transportation, clothing, and subsistence, the 
categories causing the greatest burden to the civil economy. The increase in 
fuel and oil supplied reflected the effect of the opening of the Stilwell Road 
and the pipeline to China, plus the steady increase in Hump operations. 

A decline in construction followed the completion of the IBT building 
program, while the completed deployment for the North Burma Campaign 
ended major troop movements. As for food and clothing, IBT stocks were 
now complete to the prescribed level, with reserves in hand. The cutback in 
reciprocal aid, so feared in mid-1944, thus took place without disturbing U.S. 
Army operations in India, while the Government of India met every new 
need as it arose in 1945. 14 

12 History of IBT, II, 298-300. 

13 (1) Sti lwell' s Miss ion to China, [Chapter v] describes the early days of the reciprocal aid 
system. (2)|Chapter 1,1 above, gives the reciprocal aid situation in October 1944. 

14 History of lb 1 ' , 11, 216-20. 



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When in December 1944 the Chinese 14th and 22d Divisions were flown 
back to China, the question of their supply arose. The War Department 
ruled that they would be placed in regular U.S. Army supply channels for 
ordnance supplies. However, the Government of India had been supplying 
the food, pay, clothing, and some of the equipment of these units. These 
divisions therefore had been maintained on a scale far above that enjoyed 
by the rest of the Chinese Army. China Theater was not as yet prepared so 
to maintain them from its own resources, yet Wedemeyer wanted to do so 
lest their morale be injured and they be unable to play their key role in China. 
The same treatment was desired for the remaining three divisions when they 
returned. So SOS IBT and China both proposed that the Government of 
India continue to maintain all five divisions of the Chinese Army in India 
under lend-lease until 31 December 1945. The British policy was that India 
should give food and clothing only to the 14th and 22d Divisions, and these 
items only until 30 June 1945. 

Further discussions followed, and the Government of India agreed to 
maintain the five Chinese divisions until ninety days after they had returned 
to China. In June 1945 this stand was further modified in that India would 
provide for another ninety days any items which could not be obtained else- 
where. SOS made appropriate changes in requisitions on India and attempted 
to fill some needs by requesting supplies from British authority in London. 
The British would accept only a limited responsibility for supply of Chinese 
forces from their sources east of Suez, and the United States had to fill what 
gaps resulted. 15 

To India-Burma Theater, the problem of lend-lease to India Command 
and SEAC was the delicate one of giving the War Department theater views 
on the bids of the two commands for lend-lease. The sums involved were 
large, for between September 1944, when the process began, and June 1945 
the U.S. authorities in New Delhi screened $277,947,252.00 of lend-lease bids. 
Savings to the U.S. taxpayers were of a comparable magnitude, for only 49.98 
percent was recommended for approval. 

Three attempts were made by British authorities to end screening of their 
lend-lease requisitions. On one occasion they claimed the process wasted 
time. To this, IBT replied that if there was delay, the trouble largely rose 
from reluctance or inability on the part of General Headquarters (India) 
to supply information justifying its requests. SEAC's records seemed to be 
in better shape, for its commands supplied data more promptly. On another 
occasion the British objected to having the scale at which they wanted to 
supply equipment to their men questioned by IBT. In 1942 the U.S. Army 
had taken the same stand, so the precedents seemed clear. 16 In this case, an 



15 History of IBT, I, 157-60. 

16 Stilwell's Mission to China ^p. 210.| 



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attempt was made to cast the problem in terms that would not appear 
provocative. IBT took the position that it would limit itself to recommend- 
ing what proportion of the equipment desired was to come from U.S. sources, 
a stand which did not challenge the right of the British to set their own scales. 

In commenting on British requests, IBT had no desire to be obstructive 
and believed that in many cases it could speed procurement, for example, by 
pointing out on occasion that certain desired items were present in its own 
stocks. Several steps were taken to speed the progress of requisitions and to 
make screening a truly Allied process, whose aim would be to use Allied 
resources to the best and most economical advantage. In the beginning 
SEAC and GHQ(I) made their requests through British channels to the War 
Department, which sent them back to IBT. In December 1944 the process 
was altered. The British War Office in London began to study U.S. pro- 
duction figures with a view to estimating when a bid from India Command 
or SEAC might receive favorable attention. If such seemed likely, India 
Command or SEAC was so informed. British authorities in India then 
placed the matter before IBT, which sent its recommendations to the War 
Department together with the bid. 

In the course of the screening process, IBT staff officers conferred with 
their opposite numbers in SEAC and GHQ(I) to secure appropriate data. 
Much was needed, on reserves on hand, estimated wastage, estimated con- 
sumption rates, transportation factors, and the like. When occasions rose 
on which IBT could not offer at least a reasoned estimate to the War De- 
partment, it refused to recommend approval. As a rule, SEAC and IBT 
were able to agree and present to the War Department a requisition that 
represented their combined judgment. In the opinions of the IBT staff, 
problems sometimes could be traced to the sheer length of time involved in 
passing requisitions through the different echelons of command in the 
British forces. In the meantime, the situation changed, and March's 
requistion was obsolete in August. 

Given the political and organizational habits of the English-speaking 
peoples, there inevitably arose from these informal contacts a committee, the 
India Cooperation Committee, with representatives of SEAC, GHQ(I), and 
IBT. The committee expedited IBT requests for supporting data, followed 
the progress of requistions, and checked on all delays. It was of great help 
in dealing with the question of scales, for the earlier compromise had done 
no more than place the question on a different level, at which IBT was not 
obliged to comment directly on whether British requests were in line with 
what the Americans thought a reasonable level. GHQ(I), no doubt, had 
its own tale to tell of some American ideas on what constituted a legitimate 
item of reciprocal aid. 

On one occasion, which involved a request for 800 ^-ton trucks, IBT 



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noted that the request if filled would give the units involved about 150 per- 
cent more than their Tables of Equipment required. U.S. experience in 
India had demonstrated that a unit could operate with 12 percent reserves 
and 36 percent for replacements. Since the bid was fairly small, IBT recom- 
mended filling it, but recorded its objection so that no precedent would be 
set. On another occasion, SEAC wanted U.S. antigas ointment instead of 
the British issue. IBT would not concur, on the ground that the British issue, 
though concededly not as good, was still adequate. Moreover, they challenged 
the British scale of two ointment kits per man with a 50-percent reserve. The 
U. S. scale was one each, and 30 percent. The War Department upheld the 
IBT point of view. 

In appraising the importance of reciprocal aid and lend-lease screening, 
the IBT staff estimated that in 1944 and 1945 the two combined saved the 
U.S. taxpayer $2,000,000 a day, $730,000,000 a year, in addition to economiz- 
ing on shipping space, raw materials, and production capacity in the United 
States. 17 

Supply Policies for China Theater Projects 

The principal reason U.S. troops were in India and after October 1944 
Burma was to support China. Therefore, the men whose presence in India 
and whose assignments created the difficulties just discussed were principally 
concerned with various logistical problems. In dealing with these they had 
to work in close co-operation with China Theater, whose communications 
zone they were now operating. Inevitably, agreements had to be reached 
between the two theaters on the division of responsibilities between them. 
These agreements in turn were the policy framework within which India- 
Burma Theater conducted routine logistical operations. 18 

The agreements reached in December 1944 between the theaters covered 
three major areas: requisition of supplies on India-Burma Theater and the 
United States; operation of the line of communications; and handling of lend- 
lease. The agreement on requisitions procedure was an SOS IBT suggestion 
approved by China Theater. By stipulating that all routine requisitions, such 
as those tailing within Table of Equipment allowances, would be made by 
China Theater directly on the Intermediate Section's General Depot in 
Assam, India, the agreement underscored that IBT and China Theater in 
many ways functioned almost as one theater. Emergency requistions were 
to go direct to SOS IBT. Requisitions which had as yet no War Depart- 
ment authorization were to go direct to SOS IBT with a statement that ap- 
proval had been requested. Nonroutine items approved by the War Depart- 
ment authorization were to have their requisitions accompanied by a copy 



17 H.ynry pf TRT H, 220-29. 

18 See Ch. I, above. 



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of the Department's order. Finally, SOS in China Theater was to set its 
own levels of supply. 19 - 

Dividing the responsibility for operating the line of communications from 
Ledo to Kunming was more complicated. Since IBT's resources were far 
greater than China Theater's, it was much easier for the impetus of mainte- 
nance and construction of the lines of communications to come from the di- 
rection of Ledo rather than that of Kunming. But since part of that same 
artery was within China Theater, adjustment had to be made. General 
Sultan's basic directive permitted Wedemeyer and himself to accept responsi- 
bility for operations and installations in each other's theaters as necessity arose, 
so there was no obstacle to mutual accommodation. 

Negotiated in November and December 1944, a comprehensive agreement 
defined the responsibilities of the two theaters: 

Construction and maintenance of roads: IBT was responsible for the construction and 
maintenance of the Stilwell Road up to the Burma-China border in the vicinity of 
Wanting. The China Theater was charged with all construction and maintenance within 
China. 

Construction, maintenance, and operation of pipelines: IBT was responsible for the construc- 
tion, maintenance, and operation of pipelines to Kunming. An amendment in March 
1945 added to IBT's responsibility the construction of the pipeline network connecting 
Kunming with the airfields lying to the east. 

Signal communications along roads and pipelines: IBT was responsible for the construc- 
tion and maintenance of wire communications along the Stilwell Road to Kunming and 
along the pipelines. 

Operation of the Road: IBT was responsible for motor transport operations on the 
Stilwell Road as far as Kunming. The China Theater was responsible for supplementary 
motor transport. 

Hump priority and allocation: China Theater was responsible for designating cargo for 
delivery to China and allocation of such cargo to users in China. 

Security: IBT was to arrange with SEAC for the security of the Stilwell Road and the 
pipelines up to the Burma-China border. The China Theater was to arrange for the 
security of roads, pipelines, and wire lines within China. 20 

Notably, only in the matter of allocating Hump tonnage did the authority of 
China Theater reach into India- Burma Theater. Within the sphere of local 
initiative policies on Chinese lend-lease of the India-Burma and China 
Theaters were arrived at in December by discussions in Chungking between 
representatives of the two theaters plus War Department liaison personnel. 
Their conclusions become War Department policy in a directive of 23 
January 1945. 

Certain salient points emerged from the directive. In conformity with 
recent practice in the theaters, Chinese lend-lease for the initial equipping 
for the thirty-divisions-plus- 10-percent program was to be shipped from the 
United States on the same basis as U.S. supplies and on arrival in India 

19 History of IBT, I, 57-58. 

20 History of IBT, I, 45-46. 



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would go into U.S. stockpiles. Since both Wedemeyer's supplies and lend- 
lease to China would be shipped from those same stockpiles the U.S. forces 
and the Chinese in effect drew upon one common source under their respec- 
tive programs as approved by the War Department and the Munitions As- 
signments Board of the CCS. In accordance with the policy of pooling 
stocks to simplify bookkeeping and give greater flexibility, maintenance for 
the U.S. -sponsored Chinese divisions was to be drawn by SOS requisitions 
on the Los Angeles Port of Embarkation. The rule that nothing could be 
requisitioned unless it could be delivered in six months was reaffirmed. 

In addition to U.S. lend-lease for China there were other stores in India 
destined for China with diverse origins and legal status that reflected the im- 
provisations of 1941-42. Some of them were of Canadian origin; some were 
procured by Chinese ministries with U.S. credits or their own funds; some 
were bought by Chinese governmental agencies incorporated under U.S. law. 
These classes of materiel could only be diverted to U.S. account after notify- 
ing the War Department and obtaining the consent of General Wedemeyer, 
which meant that of the Chinese Government. 21 

In accordance with his basic mission and inherent powers as a theater 
commander, Wedemeyer was to determine the amounts, types, and priorities 
of lend-lease shipments to China. He also was to make the policy decisions 
in accord with which IBT would bid for initial issues under the thirty-divi- 
sions-plus-10-percent program. 22 China Theater was charged with recording 
all transfers of supplies to the Chinese. General Sultan as Commanding 
General, IBT, was to control bids for and deliveries to the Chinese Army 
in India, and was to receive, store, and transport lend-lease within his theater 
and as otherwise agreed on between himself and Wedemeyer (reflecting the 
division of responsibility for the line of communications). 23 

As soon as the War Department's January directive was issued, China 
Theater pooled all China Defense Supplies, Inc., stocks that were intended 
for the Chinese Army with its own supplies. In effect, this meant that at 
the last depot before supplies were transported to China, IBT merged such 
materiel with U.S. stocks. The International Division of Army Service 
Forces in Washington was at once notified of each diversion so that the 
Chinese account in Washington could be credited accordingly. Wedemeyer's 
action meant that henceforth military supplies entering China became one 
single resource to be used by the U.S. theater commander as necessity might 
dictate. 

21 (1) Stilwell's Mission to C^W fChapter il gives the ba ckground of this effort to aid China 
with materiel. (2) Stilwell's Command Problems, | Chapter VII| describes the origin of the 1944-45 
lend-lease policies. 

22 This program did not include five divisions of the Chinese Army in India. 

23 History of IBT, I, 161-63. 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



309 



India-Burma Theater delayed in pooling China Defense Supplies materiel 
because it had been asked by the War Department to re-examine its sup- 
ply status. The point at issue was whether IBT should continue to receive 
supplies on the basis of semiautomatic requisitions initiated in the zone of 
the interior (known as Phase II supply) or whether it was now ready to 
requisition everything it might need. After conferences with China Theater 
representatives, IBT concluded it was ready to take the responsibility of 
planning and obtaining its own supply. The change became effective 1 May 
1945. IBT then directed that all China Defense Supplies be absorbed into 
U.S. stockpiles, effective 15 June 1945, thus ending three years of double ac- 
counting and double handling. In retrospect, IBT concluded that "both from 
the supply and tactical viewpoint, the supply from two separate supply sys- 
tems of two fighting forces, working toward a common goal and mutually 
dependent operationally, is too inflexible and cumbersome a procedure to per- 
mit efficient and integrated action." 24 

Ports, Pipelines, and Railroads 

Once policies for reauisitioning and handling supplies had been settled, 
the next step in the supply process was to move them to the depots and 
tank farms from which they would begin their trip to China. This step in- 
volved the ports that received stores in India and the railroads and pipelines 
that carried them from the ports to the depots in Assam. There, by air, 
road, or pipeline again, they would begin their journey to China. 

In spring 1945 the port situation reflected the steady growth in the effi- 
ciency and capacity of Calcutta, the continuance of Karachi in the stand-by 
status, and the discontinuance of Bombay as a terminal for troop transports. 

The U.S. port troops at Calcutta were the 497th and 508th Port Battalions 
and the 540th and 54lst Port Companies. The Base Section commander, 
General Neyland, was regarded by the SOS commander, General Covell, as 
notably successful in raising the morale of his men. This factor, plus the 
fact that cargo delivered to Calcutta was usually crated and so easier to han- 
dle than bulk shipments, may explain the success of the port troops in 
making Calcutta first in discharge rates among all U.S. Army ports. Between 
15 and 27 March 1945 about 114,000 tons were discharged; at the end of 
March only 889 tons remained in the transit sheds. Once port congestion 
had made Calcutta a major bottleneck in CBI, but now this port led the 
rest. 25 

24 History of IBT, II, 233-34. Quotation from page |l65 | 

25 For a discussion of the port problem in 1943, see Stilwell's Mission to China, pp. Il43,|| 148,1 
I 2031 206,||M4T5F57| 1 11 1 



310 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Karachi, as noted above, was placed in stand-by status on 15 May, there- 
after unloading only an occasional vessel calling with Air Forces supplies for 
the great Karachi air base. 

Because Calcutta's port facilities were regarded as limiting the types of 
ships that could make their way up the Hooghly River to dockside, Bombay 
on the west coast of India continued to be the port of call for transports. 
There were certain disadvantages. After landing, troops had to move by rail 
across India— a long, slow, tiring journey. As a rule, three days were re- 
quired to unload transports and entrain the troops. Moreover, the British 
were expecting the arrival of substantial troop shipments in spring and 
summer 1945 to replace their veterans, many of whom had arrived in India 
in 1942, and to repatriate Indian troops, some of whom had seen their first 
action in 1940 on the Egyptian frontier. So the British had asked for sole 
use of Bombay's facilities. 

By various negotiations, IBT postponed return of the port and replace- 
ment center facilities at Bombay. The theater staff believed that Calcutta 
could not receive troopships of the "General" class then engaged on the run 
to Bombay. But the British needed Bombay, and so the War Department 
in January 1945 undertook to test Calcutta by sending two C-4-class troop- 
ships to that port. The ships navigated the Hooghly in safety and were 
unloaded in nine hours. Plainly, IBT could no longer justify its stand. 
SOS accordingly ordered evacuation of U.S. port personnel from Bombay by 
1 June 1945. In its last month of operation, the Bombay complement moved 
15,235 men through the port. Inactivation yielded thirty-two men for 
China service. A forty- five -man detachment remained for minor transport, 
procurement, finance, and censorship duties. 

By April 1945 Calcutta handled troop movements as a matter of routine. 
"In the latter part of the month, 5,762 troops debarked from two C-2 trans- 
ports. The first special train left Princep's Ghat 2 V2 hours after the vessels 
had completed mooring and all baggage and cargo [were] completely off- 
loaded within 18 hours." The men went to replacement depots at 
Kanchrapara and Camp Angus, both near Calcutta. 

From the Calcutta aiea, railroads, pipelines, and a river barge line led 
north to the depots and road and air terminals of Assam. Together, they 
formed the Assam line of communications, as it was called in CBI. Thanks 
to the completion of the pipelines and the improvements in railroad opera- 
tions of 1944, the Assam line of communications in 1945 could forward all 
cargo put down at Calcutta. 26 Of this cargo, petroleum products caused the 
most concern in 1945. Where motor fuels and lubricants were concerned, 
the major problem lay in keeping stocks at an adequate level. One minor 

i 6 (1) The transport problem of 1944 is discussed in Stilwll's Command Problems, ChapterJ I 

VII. (2) Quotation from History of IBT, II, 402. 1—1 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



311 



crisis came from the diversion of some tankers from India just at the time 
the opening of the Stilwell Road, the expansion of Hump operations, and 
the British drive to Mandalay were putting a severe strain on local gasoline 
reserves. The diversion of the tankers in January 1945 caused a drop in antic- 
ipated receipts of some 41,000,000 gallons. Between expanded operations 
and diminished receipts, stocks of 100-octane gasoline in Assam dropped 
below the ten-day level and in the Base Section to twenty days. SOS IBT 
hastily appealed to the War Department, and receipts after April rose to a 
point that corrected the shortfall. 

As IBT was looking toward the end of this minor crisis, a fuel shortage 
of more serious dimensions, which threatened to reduce theater activities, was 
developing in north Burma, and became quite apparent from March to June. 
The movement of motor convoys to China and the institution of ATC Hump 
operations from Myitkyina bore heavily upon stocks in the forward area. 
Coincident with this, attempts to build up stocks in China were hindered by 
the lack of fuel and oil containers. These were inadequate in quantity, 
poorly made, and often roughly handled by Indian labor at train transship- 
ment points. All these difficulties, arising in the same few months, made 
gas and oil a critical problem. 

The ATC's Hump operations from Myitkyina were regarded as the only 
marginal activity in north Burma, so ATC was warned that it would have to 
take the heaviest cuts in fuel allotments. All commands were ordered to 
maintain strict economy. 

Fortunately, the crisis could not be one of long duration, because the pipe- 
line and container program was nearing completion even as commanders in 
the forward area were most worried over the fuel situation. ATC operations 
dropped about 5 percent from March to April, while they had risen 15 per- 
cent from February to March, but permanent relief was at hand. On 31 
March the first deliveries through a new six-inch pipeline from the port of 
Chittagong reached the Tinsukia tank farm in Assam. By 31 May a six-inch 
line from Tinsukia to Myitkyina was coupled, though not yet in operation. 
The U.S. Army in March began making its own 55-gallon containers at 
Tezgaon, Assam. Handling of containers in shipment was more closely 
supervised. The Government of India undertook to improve containers on 
hand by sealing their seams with melted bronze, thus sharply cutting losses 
from leakage. 

Improvement in the fuel situation first showed itself in Assam. In late 
April SOS reported that the Assam valley air terminals were "saturated" 
with gasoline. With heavy receipts in Assam, with the six-inch pipeline to 
Myitkyina almost complete, the fuel shortage in north Burma was plainly 
to end soon. 27 

27 History of IBT, II, 403-13. 



312 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Army Air Force Fuel Dump at Assam 



Railway operations in the first six months of 1945 were a story of steady 
improvement rather than of dramatic change. The dramatic changes had 
come in March and April 1944 when the U.S. Military Railway Service took 
over the management of key sections of the Bengal and Assam Railway and 
began stressing movement of freight cars toward the Assam terminals; the 
former policy had been to balance the movement of cars up and down the 
line. 28 The improvements of 1945 were an extensive program of siding 
construction, freight car construction, added watering facilities, the equipping 
of cars with vacuum brakes, and establishment of a tracer system to keep track 
of lost or mishandled shipments. 

Of these several projects, building sidings was perhaps the most im- 
portant. The railway authorities of the Government of India had believed 
that to increase the physical capacity of the Bengal and Assam Railway it 
would be necessary to double-track 578 miles. This would be a slow 
process, and a drain on Indian steel production. U.S. railwaymen believed 
much the same results could be obtained by construction of long sidings, 
each capable of taking a 100-car train. Then, two-way operation would be 



Stilwell's Command Problems, 



Ch. VII. 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



313 



permitted by sidetracking the train with the lower priority. Ultimately, 
double-tracking was reduced to 165 miles, for building a total of 47 miles of 
passing sidings at 94 different locations eliminated 360 miles of double- 
tracking. 

Greater supplies of rolling stock were obtained by borrowing from other 
Indian railways, by construction in India, and by imports from the United 
States. By May 1945 the United States had sent 10,113 freight cars to the 
Bengal and Assam Railway, about 60 percent of the total increase. The 
motive power, by the same date, was also 60 percent American. 

As a result of these improvements, the 735th Railway Operating Bat- 
talion, which operated the division with the heaviest traffic, moved 42,734 
cars east in March 1945, as against 8,836 cars in February 1944, before the 
Military Railway Service took over. The construction of forty 125-car 
sidings in this one division partly explained the feat. 

Operating the Line of Communications to China 

Though the first full convoy from India reached Kunming, China, on 
4 February 1945, its arrival signaled only that the road was open to traffic, 
not that it was a fully operational line of comunications to China. The ex- 
tent to which its capacity would be developed necessarily reflected the plan- 
ning that took place before it was opened. In 1942 and until May 1943 the 
Ledo Road had been seen as an expedient which would serve to give more 
ample support to U.S. projects in China until the prewar line of communica- 
tions through Rangoon could be restored. After May 1943 operations in 
Burma could not be agreed on beyond a limited offensive to take north 
Burma. That fact elevated the Ledo Road and its accompanying pipeline to 
new importance. Meanwhile, the Hump air line had been growing in capac- 
ity. Many, like General Chennault, Mr. Churchill, and the British Chiefs 
of Staff, thought it a far better investment than the Ledo Road, but the War 
Department always objected to diversion of transports from the main effort 
in Europe, while Army Service Forces had been enthusiastic in supporting the 
road. 

When the North Burma Campaign opened in October 1943 it was at 
least arguable that a simultaneous attack from both sides of Burma might 
clear the Japanese from the trace of the Ledo Road in a few months, and 
open the road to China before the Japanese could make a major move there. 
By April 1944 the slow pace of the North Burma Campaign forced General 
Stilwell, then CBI Theater commander, to conclude that his mission in north 
Burma was now primarily to take Myitkyina so that Hump tonnage might 
be increased. In August 1944 British success at Imphal and his own im- 
minent victory at Myitkyina made him think the road might still be open in 



314 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



time to play a worthwhile role. All during these months, the U.S. Pacific 
campaign had steadily progressed, and by August an American landing in the 
Philippines and the opening of a Chinese port could be foreseen. In the 
light of these factors and of the months that had slipped past since Stilwell 
first suggested retaking Burma in July 1942, the theater and the War Depart- 
ment in summer 1944 had to fix a role for the Ledo Road. 29 

In August 1944 the War Department directed that the Ledo Road be 
completed as a two-lane highway to Myitkyina, and as a one-way road be- 
yond Myitkyina, to Wanting, China. Operations over it were to be limited 
to one-way delivery of vehicles and field artillery. The motive of the War 
Department was to free resources for the forthcoming attack on the Philip- 
pines. 30 For some months CBI Theater planning had followed similar lines 
as to the immediate future of road operations. Vehicles and artillery would 
be of use in the crisis the Americans then faced in China; more ambitious 
efforts might well be too late to be of help. But one-way delivery of vehi- 
cles posed a problem. Drivers had to be found for them. If Americans 
were used, they would have to be flown back to India. It seemed much bet- 
ter to train and use Chinese drivers who would be available for further serv- 
ice in China. 

So, in the spring of 1944, CBI Theater began training Chinese drivers at 
Ramgarh Training Center. The program did not go smoothly, for the de- 
sertion rate was high. Center headquarters believed that Chinese newspapers 
had made extravagant promises to Chinese volunteer recruits which had not 
materialized. Conscripts arrived in poor shape physically. In August 1944 
forty-four of them died after flying over the Hump. Brig. Gen. Haydon L. 
Boatner, then commanding the Rear Echelon of the Chinese Army in India, 
believed a partial solution lay in converting four Chinese tank battalions 
then at Ramgarh into truck units. It was not likely they would get tanks. 
CBI headquarters would not accept the proposal, preferring to assign added 
U.S. instructors to Ramgarh. In the light of these reinforcements, Ramgarh 
hoped to train 2,700 drivers a month. 

After the theaters split, India-Burma again urged that the tank battalions 
be converted into truck units. On 1 January 1945 the Generalissimo agreed. 

India-Burma Theater's suggestion may have reflected reports from Ram- 
garh, for when the new Chinese drivers took the road in February it became 
apparent that they were not qualified. For instance, one Chinese-manned 
convoy of 90 vehicles reached Pangsau Pass, 38 miles from Ledo, with only 
66 operational vehicles left. General Boatner thought the Chinese driver 

29 Stilwell' s Mission to China, Chapters ! V,||lXj andQc] and Stilwell' s Command Problems, Chap- 
give the War Department, Army Service Forces, and CBI Theater views on the Ledo Road. 

(2) Min, 2d White House Mtg, 1 4 May 43 . Official Trident Conf Bk. 

30 Stilwell' s Command Problems, |Ch. IXj 



Brig. Gen. Hay don L. Boatner, commanding Rear Echelon, Chinese Army in 
India, stops to speak to a wounded Chinese soldier in Burma. January 1944. 



316 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



program a failure. He did not think it reflected inefficiency at Ramgarh, but 
rather the general impossibility of training raw Chinese to the necessary 
standards in four weeks. To increase the difficulty, the British were pressing 
for the return of Ramgarh for their redeployment program. Plainly, expe- 
dients were necessary to get the convoys rolling to China. 

Expedients were used, while emergency efforts were made to salvage the 
Chinese driver program. The Chinese 6th Motor Regiment, of lengthy 
Burma experience, took vehicles to Kunming and was flown back. The U.S. 
330th Engineer Regiment supplied volunteers for the third, fifth, and sixth 
convoys, who made the trip to Kunming for a diversion while they awaited 
rotation. Units awaiting transfer to China drove themselves there. Volun- 
teers were recruited from U.S. troops in IBT. Thanks to these expedients, 
clearly recognized as such, IBT dispatched thirty convoys in February, twenty- 
two of which reached China during the month; convoys dispatched after 16 
February did not arrive until March. 

Meanwhile, strong measures to bolster the Chinese driver program were 
taken. Training at. Ramgarh went on round the clock, to handle some 9,844 
Chinese volunteers, many of them students, who passed through the center 
in the first four months of 1945. Those Chinese who had graduated and 
some of whom had done badly were given a postgraduate course at Ledo. 
The four tank battalions yielded about 3,000 officers and men for motor 
transport duty. 

These measures were no more than palliatives and IBT began to look 
elsewhere for drivers. Since Chinese drivers could not be obtained in quan- 
tity, and U.S. drivers were not available, there remained but one source, 
Indian civilian drivers, such as were then being employed successfully at SOS 
installations in India. IBT began to explore that possibility, with appro- 
priate urgency. 

The expedient measures for initial road operations were conducted under 
the routine that would be followed when drivers were available on a perma- 
nent basis. On 24 February, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 
Motor Transport Service, was activated and assigned to Advance Section, 
Ledo. Its mission was to operate the 1,079 miles of highways in Advance 
Section's area. Motor transport operations divided into three phases: Ledo 
base operations; supply of activities in north Burma; deliveries to China. 

Ledo Base operations were handled by Intermediate Section troops, Indian 
civilian drivers, and Advance Section men, reflecting the movement of traffic 
to Ledo, around Ledo, and away from Ledo. 

Supply operations in Burma, which averaged about 30,000 tons a month, 
were the sphere of Motor Transport Service. At first, 6x6 trucks were used 
exclusively. In April, 4x6 tractors and 10-ton semitrailers were introduced 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 317 



Table 4 — Vehicle and Cargo Deliveries to China and Burma by Months 

(1945) 





China 


Burma 


Month 
























Gross 


Vehicle and 


Cargo 


Cargo 




Convoys 


Vehicles 


Trailers 


Weight « 


Trailer 


Weight « 


Weight a 










Weight » 






Total 


433 


25, 783 




6, 539 


146, 948 


108, 886 


38, 062 


161,986 


February 


22 


1,333 


609 


5,231 


4, 120 


1, 111 


27, 087 


March 


22 


1, 152 


745 


6, 788 


5,279 


1, 509 


34, 579 


April 


38 


2, 342 


1, 185 


15,447 


11,249 


4, 198 


31,797 


May 


78 


4, 682 


1, 103 


28, 080 


19, 645 


8,435 


28, 357 


June 


82 


4,901 


964 


27, 962 


20, 977 


6, 985 


14, 923 


July 


75 


4, 745 


828 


23, 370 


17, 470 


5,900 


16, 085 


August 


51 


2, 652 


647 


15, 866 


11, 582 


4, 284 


5,046 


September 


53 


3,060 


408 


18, 599 


14, 291 


4, 308 


4, 112 


October 


12 


916 


50 


5,605 


4, 273 


1, 332 









" Short tons. 

Source: History of IBT, I, Ch. 3, p. 147. 



on the relatively level stretch from Shingbwiyang to Bhamo, cutting driver 
requirements for that section about 50 percent. 

Convoy movements on the Burma Road were as highly organized as 
traffic on a railroad. There were two classes of convoys— units proceeding 
to China and freight convoys. Both were dispatched by the Hump Regula- 
tion Officer in accord with priorities set by the Hump Allocation Office in 
China. In the case of freight convoys, Intermediate Section delivered the 
vehicles to Makum Junction, between Chabua and Ledo, where Motor Trans- 
port drivers took the wheel. These drove to Margherita, near Ledo, 
bivouacked there, and next morning crossed the initial point at Ledo. All 
movement from Ledo was controlled by Advance Section through the Motor 
Transport Service. 

If a unit was going to China, it was staged at Kanchrapara, near Calcutta, 
where it received as many extra vehicles as it could manage. The Hump 
Regulation Officer dispatched it from Calcutta by rail to Siliguri, or Bon- 
gaigaon in Assam, and thence by road to Chabua. Here the vehicles were 
inspected and repaired, and extra vehicles assigned if possible. Then the 
unit went to Margherita, where it bivouacked again, waiting for its final dis- 
patch to China. 

Once on the road, drivers found way stations at regular intervals. By 
June 1945 nine of these were operating and offered maintenance for vehicles, 



318 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

Table 5 — Gasoline Deliveries by Pipeline to China 



Month 


100-octane 


Motor gas 


Total 


Gallons 


Tons 


Gallons 


Tons 


Gallons 


Tons 


April 


122, 072 
671, 440 
138,919 
1,684, 130 
1, 873, 760 


439 
2, 442 

505 
6, 124 
6, 814 






122, 072 

1, 514, 440 
1,417, 115 
3, 179,330 

2, 987, 495 


439 
5, 530 
5, 187 
11,601 
10, 897 


May 

July 

August 


843, 000 
1, 278, 200 
1, 495, 200 
1, 113, 735 


3,088 

4, 682 

5, 477 
4, 085 



Source: History of IBT, II, 161. 



and transient messes and bathing facilities for men. Military police detach- 
ments patrolled the road from some thirty stations. Ordnance maintenance 
detachments manned twenty-two repair points along the road. 

Driving the road was a strain. Ten days was regarded as the ideal time 
for a trip from Ledo to Kunming, but twelve to fifteen was more usual. 
Drivers operating on the road day in and day out were affected by the many 
rough, dusty stretches. Increasing numbers of men with dust pneumonia, 
cysts, fatigue, and kidney ailments began to appear at sick call. Quarter- 
master truck companies were obliged to take many men off duty. 

Deliveries were also affected by operating problems. A shortage of fuel 
along the Chinese section of the road made April deliveries fall short of the 
target by 800 vehicles. During the first five months of 1945 about 10 per- 
cent of vehicles dispatched were either lost by accidents en route or delayed 
along the way. 

Despite the driver problem and operational difficulties, an increasing 
amount of vehicles and supplies moved along the road. 31 The question 
soon arose: should it carry more? Road deliveries to points within Burma 



and to China are shown in Table 4. Pipeline deliveries to China are shown 
in Table 5. 

The Line of Communications Reappraised 

At various times the concept of the ground line of communications across 
north Burma had been challenged by those who thought air transport 
cheaper and more economical. As the years went by after 1942 the whole 



31 (1) History of IBT, II, 359-76. (2) Joseph Bykofsky and Harold Larson, The Transporta- 
tion Corps: Operations Overseas, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 
1957). 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



319 



strategic and logistical background of the argument was revolutionized. 
Where in 1942 the War Department had told Stilwell to live off the land 
and the White House had felt obliged to shift a handful of bombers and 
transports from Stilwell to support the crumbling Allied position in the 
Middle East, by December 1944 the Allies were far more secure, with much 
greater resources. Even the current desperate German offensive in the 
Ardennes, though disturbing, could not be compared to the menace that ex- 
isted when General Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps were a few score 
miles from Alexandria. The Allies had shipping by the million tons; they 
had air transport, efficient ports, and lines of communications— in short, 
everything that had been lacking or scarce in 1942. 

Army Service Forces had long been enthusiastic in support of the Ledo 
Road. In December 1944 Lt. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, its commander, 
summoned General Covell to Washington to help him prepare recommenda- 
tions on the scale at which operations on the road were to be supported in 
1945. It would appear that Army Service Forces did not yet agree with the 
August 1944 War Department directive limiting the Stilwell Road to one- 
way delivery of vehicles and artillery. Projected road operations had to be 
weighed against Wedemeyer's 1945 requirements, and he was asked to sub- 
mit them. Received 13 January 1945, they included the requirements of the 
projects he had earlier outlined. For April and May 1945, China Theater 
wanted about 77,000 tons; for June and July, about 80,000; and for August, 
87,000. Here was the support for Plan Beta, 36 divisions, and two U.S. 
Army air forces in China. 

With the Wedemeyer estimates came IBT's report of its current plan- 
ning, which showed that unless transport efforts were drastically increased, 
deliveries to China Theater would fall short of Wedemeyer's estimates by 
amounts varying from 12,000 to 23,000 tons. The overland line of com- 
munications would be delivering vehicles, about 12,000 tons of gasoline, and 
some 2,000 tons of cargo a month. 

The two agencies concerned, the India-China Wing of the Air Transport 
Command and the SOS IBT, submitted their estimates. The ATC believed 
that it could deliver 80,000 tons a month if it was reinforced by about 150 
more C-54's plus reserves, an additional 968 officers and 4,326 enlisted men, 
and 0.7 ton of fuel for every ton of cargo scheduled. 

To deliver 60,000 net tons of cargo a month, the SOS wanted for two- 
way operations 5,759 more 5 -ton tractor-trailers; 56,500 troops, including 137 
more quartermaster truck companies; and 0.6 ton of fuel for every ton of 
cargo scheduled. An extra 15,000 tons of maintenance supplies for the road 
would have to be dispatched from Ledo every month. These figures were a 
strong argument against the expansion of Stilwell Road operations. More- 



320 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



over, other phases of the ground line of communications were being depre- 
ciated by events. In 1942 and 1943 Stilwell had urged reopening the prewar 
line of communications from Rangoon to Kunming, in the belief that it 
could be done without asking the War Department for resources that agency 
had said it could not spare. Now, in 1945, IBT surveyed the same route, 
and dismissed it because its rehabilitation would require resources not at 
hand in the theater. 

The pipeline project from India to China was also being reappraised in 
January and February. Originally, one six-inch and two four-inch pipelines 
had been planned. When the estimates submitted were studied by the sev- 
eral headquarters in IBT, China, and Washington, the feeling grew that the 
second four-inch line need not be completed to China. Its role would have 
been to support road operations. Since these were being valued on a lower 
scale, General Chennault suggested that the pipe and crews which would 
have completed the line to Kunming should instead build a line from Kun- 
ming to the Fourteenth Air Force fields. The suggestion was accepted, and 
set a precedent for suspending the six-inch line at Myitkyina. This left the 
trans-Burma pipeline project at one four-inch line to Kunming. 

A decision as to the most effective and most economical use of the 
Hump-road-pipeline combination was needed. IBT sent the deputy theater 
commander, Maj. Gen. Frank D. Merrill, to Washington in February 1945 
with five possible plans for deliveries to China Theater in 1945, Cases I 
through V. Cases I through IV would provide 64,000 tons in April 1945 
and from 116,000 to 158,000 tons a month by January 1946. Case V was on 
a lower scale. The principal differences between the plans lay in the amount 
of deliveries they assigned to the ATC. Cases I through III assumed com- 
pletion of the six-inch pipeline to China, and some cargo delivery over the 
Stilwell Road, but Cases IV and V, developed at a conference in New Delhi 
between officers from China and India, limited the road to one-way vehicle 
delivery. 

Discussions in Washington during March 1945 attended by Wedemeyer, 
who was there to present Plan Beta for operations against Canton, led to 
the final recommendation, Case VI. Case VPs proposals took advantage of 
the imminent departure of the B-29's from their great air bases near Calcutta. 

Case VI undertook to meet China Theater's needs by adding C-46's and 
C-54's to the Hump, by basing C-54's on the Bengal fields of the B-29's for 
flight to China over the lower terrain of central Burma, and by building four 
more airfields at Myitkyina. The Stilwell Road was to be restricted to one- 
way delivery of vehicles. The six-inch pipeline was not to be extended past 
Myitkyina., In effect, therefore, the major part of deliveries to China was to 
be by air. The ground line of communications would be largely devoted to 



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supporting the Myitkyina area. From Ledo to Myitkyina there would be a 
two-way, all-weather road paralleled by two pipelines. From Myitkyina to 
Kunming there would be a one-lane highway and one four-inch pipeline. 32 
There was one major assumption implicit in Case VI which if not satis- 
fied would imperil the whole project for sharply increasing deliveries to 
China. Case VI assumed that C-54's would be obtainable in sufficient num- 
ber. If this was indeed so, all would go well, but if it was not, China Thea- 
ter plans would be adversely affected. 

Transferring Support from SEAC to China 

Though supply of the U.S. effort in China was India-Burma Theater's 
major mission, Sultan's theater also had commitments in Burma. While the 
Chinese divisions and the Tenth Air Force were in Burma, IBT had to sup- 
port them. Slim's Fourteenth Army was also heavily dependent on U.S. 
transport aircraft. Since these Chinese and American resources were ulti- 
mately intended for support of China, to China they would have to go at 
some point in the Burma campaign. The choice of that point and the 
phasing of the departure were matters of importance and delicacy. 

By mid-March 1945 the Generalissimo, Mountbatten, Wedemeyer, and 
Sultan were agreed that the rest of the Chinese Army in India and Mars 
Task Force would be released to return to China, since the Chinese did not 
want to move farther south. 33 Meanwhile, Slim's forces were heavily en- 
gaged between Mandalay and Meiktila. The difficulty in making the trans- 
fer lay in the demands on air transport that would result. The easiest, 
quickest, and cheapest way to move the 30th, 38th, and 50th Chinese Divi- 
sions to east China was by air. Air transport was also the obvious way to 
move the ground echelons of the Tenth Air Force to China. But SEAC's 
transports that might be needed for this movement were engaged in support 
of Slim's forces, and were now the major contribution of the India-Burma 
Theater to the Burma campaign. Indeed, 80 percent of SEAC's transports 
were American. 

In agreeing that the three remaining Chinese divisions and Mars could 
be released, SEAC believed it had come very close to the limit of the re- 
sources that it could spare for China. All that remained were the transports. 
They and their crews were being worked hard to bring ammunition, gas, and 
food to Meiktila. Therefore, the JCS suggestion of 16 March 1945 that the 
aircraft to fly Mars and the Chinese divisions to east China should come 
from the transports supporting NCAC as well as from China Theater's own 



3 2 ( 1 ) History nf TRT II, 377-83. (2) History of SOS in IBT, pp. 218-24. 

33 See Ch. VII, above. 



322 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



resources and the ATC was disturbing to Mountbatten. The Joint Chiefs 
had softened this proposal by stating that the Chinese Army in India was not 
to leave Burma before Rangoon fell or 1 June, whichever was sooner, but 
since SEAC was already on record as anxious to have the army moved out 
of Burma as soon as possible to aid the supply situation, the phrasing of the 
JCS proposal seemed to Mountbatten to offer no solution to his problem. 

China Theater, which was asking for the transfer of the Chinese divisions, 
did not believe it had resources to spare for the move or that it could antic- 
ipate any reinforcements from outside India and Burma. China Theater's 
own transports were fully engaged within China, in the Alpha troop move- 
ments, and so its planners pointed to the 148 transports which had been sup- 
porting NCAC. Since these were NCAC troops that were coming to China, 
they argued, their logistical support could come with them. 

Such arguments did not impress Mountbatten, who placed his case before 
the British Chiefs of Staff as he had in a similar instance several months be- 
fore. He urged two points on them, that the Chinese divisions should be 
moved from Burma as soon as possible, and that no transport should be 
withdrawn from SEAC to move them. The British Chiefs fully endorsed 
Mountbatten's views. They were powerfully supported by the Prime Min- 
ister, who on 30 March sent a message to General Marshall. Churchill 
wrote: "As General Marshall will remember from our talks at Octagon 
[September 1944], we greatly disliked the prospect of a renewal of a large- 
scale campaign in the jungles of Burma and I have always had other ideas 
myself." Churchill pointed out that the British had loyally thrown them- 
selves into the Burma campaign. Furthermore, the British had kept Indian 
divisions in Italy to permit Canadian troops to join combined operations in 
Germany. 34 

In the War Department, these representations were received in a manner 
to suggest that the local commanders had misunderstood the JCS 16 March 
message on the transfer of U.S. resources from Burma, though its phrasing 
did support the conclusions drawn. Since the United States had promised 
that it would not unilaterally jeopardize approved Fourteenth Army oper- 
ations, the War Department Operation Division (OPD) had expected that 
the 16 March message would be interpreted accordingly. OPD expected 
that NCAC aircraft would be used to move Mars Task Force with its two 
regiments, a far smaller commitment than flying back three Chinese divisions. 

General Marshall, therefore, on 3 April 1945 assured the British that the 
United States was in fullest accord with Churchill's desire to continue Mount- 



34 (1) History of IBT, II, 333-36. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 459-64. (3) Prime 
Minister to Field Marshal Si r Henry M. Wilson, British Joint Services Mission, 022058. Folder 
66, OPD Exec 10. (4) See Ch. V,| above. 



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323 



batten's offensive on to the capture of Rangoon. He relayed the JCS assur- 
ance that the transports would not be transferred before 1 June or Rangoon's 
capture, whichever came first. JCS reserved the general right to transfer re- 
sources to China if Rangoon did not fall before the monsoon began. 35 The 
Chinese divisions would therefore be returned by ATC and China Theater. 

Consistent with JCS policy, China Theater's next proposals for moving 
IBT air resources to China did not suggest the transfer of any transport 
squadrons until June, when two were requested. For July, China Theater 
wanted two fighter groups, a troop carrier group less one squadron, and mis- 
cellaneous service elements. The rest of the Tenth Air Force, which would 
include the last of the transports, was to be moved in September. 36 

When China Theater's proposals arrived at SEAC, that headquarters was 
making a major change in strategy. On 23 February SEAC's field command- 
ers had been sure they could reach Rangoon overland before the monsoon 
broke. By 22 March, the senior ground commander, General Leese, had to 
point out that the advance was behind schedule, and a few days later sug- 
gested an amphibious assault on Rangoon, using some of the forces that were 
intended for Malaya. The monsoon's approach set a time limit; great efforts 
would be necessary to make an amphibious assault before then. Mountbat- 
ten's land, sea, and air forces, with veteran staffs and veteran troops, were at 
a stage of training and experience that permitted maximum flexibility, and 
so the decision was made. Rangoon was to be taken by amphibious and air 
assault, and by 5 May. Slim's men were now past Mandalay, moving south, 
and they were to continue as fast as possible. Their problem was logistical. 
They had to have air supply just to stay where they were, for their overland 
lines of communication had been improvised on the assumption that air sup- 
ply would be available. Once the monsoon began they would have to be 
supplied through Rangoon anyway, so the best solution for Slim's logistical 
problem was for him to reach the port at the earliest date. These needs and 
the decision to take Rangoon by amphibious and air assault meant that 
SEAC would not want to spare one transport before Rangoon fell. 37 

Therefore, China Theater's initial proposals for deferring until June the 
movement of Tenth Air Force to China were welcome. They had hardly 
been received when the Japanese drive on Chihchiang in China forced Wede- 
meyer to make an emergency appeal for one transport squadron. He wanted 
to rush troops to defend the Chihchiang fields and felt that if he had the 
squadron by 25 April the Chinese could hold the area. General Sultan con- 

35 Memo, Hull for Marshall, sub: Conf with Field Marshal Wilson on CCS 452/44; Memo, 
Marshall for Wilson, 3 Apr 45. Cases 6/4, 6/5, OPD 452.1 

36 History of IBT, II, 335-36. 

37 Mountbatten Report, Pt. B, pars. 498-507. 



324 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



curred, for he believed the squadron could be found from those currently 
engaged in supply NCAC. 

Mountbatten was willing that the squadron should go, since it was not 
currently engaged in central or south Burma, but he stipulated it must be re- 
garded as coming from the June quota for China. He also asked Sultan how 
it was that in late April Sultan could spare a squadron for China when on 
20 March he could not find one to help Slim in the battle for Mandalay. 
Sultan explained that in the interim enough Chinese troops had been moved 
from central Burma to lessen the need for air supply there, and so the 
squadron could be released. 38 

With the withdrawal of the Chinese divisions from SEAC, and the 
imminence of the Tenth Air Force's departure, it was possible in mid- April 
to forecast that the United States would soon withdraw entirely from SEAC. 
One reason lay in the fact that U.S. resources in SEAC were there to support 
China. Once Burma was retaken, SEAC would be involved in Malayan 
operations, in which the United States had no strategic interest, since the 
liberation of the Philippines plus the attack on Okinawa had already cut the 
Japanese oceanic line of communications to southeast Asia and the oil of the 
Indies. Moreover, the United States wished to avoid being in the position 
of supporting the re-establishment of European colonialism in southeast 
Asia. 39 

General Hull, chief of the Operations Division, discussed U.S. withdrawal 
from SEAC with General Marshall in April 1945. They agreed that SEAC 
should remain a combined headquarters so long as U.S. forces were assigned 
to it. On 16 May General Wheeler, who was the senior U.S. officer in 
SEAC, and also Principal Administrative Officer of that command, raised the 
issue again in a private letter to General Hull. If the United States con- 
tinued as an active partner but contributed no forces, Wheeler pointed out, 
U.S. influence on SEAC policy would be nil. He thought it better to with- 
draw if no American forces were to be assigned. The Asiatic Section, OPD, 
described his views as "in complete accord" with theirs. But Marshall did 
not take too rigid a view of the existing situation. He did not permit Hull 
to answer until 18 June. 

Hull's answer described U.S. policy on remaining in SEAC during 
hostilities. Hull believed that Marshall did not at this time want to raise 
the question of formal U.S. withdrawal. To Hull, he seemed reluctant to 
suggest a change because he had been a strong sponsor of the original idea 
of American participation on an Allied basis. Therefore, no change in the 

38 History of IBT, II, 335-37. 
59 See History of IBT, II, 161. 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



325 



U.S. status was likely unless the British proposed it or some significant 
change occurred in the meantime. 40 

If the British accepted Mountbatten's views they would not be apt to 
suggest U.S. withdrawal from SEAC. Throughout SEAC history Mount- 
batten had stressed the "Allied" note. He appeared to value this not merely 
for what additional strength the Americans might lend, but for the idea's 
sake as well. As the campaign in Burma drew nearer an end he suggested 
that SEAC remain at least formally an Anglo-American command, through 
the presence of some American officers at SEAC headquarters, even after all 
American combat forces were gone. Therefore, as the fighting drew nearer 
to Rangoon, and the end of the campaign, SEAC remained an Allied com- 
mand in name, though the combat effort was now exerted by British, Indian, 
and Burmese troops, which received most of their air supply from American 
cargo planes, and the Royal Navy and the Royal Indian Navy. 41 

The Last Battles in Burma 

After securing the Meiktila-Mandalay area, Slim regrouped his forces for 
the dash to Rangoon by putting the motorized 5th and 17th Indian Divi- 
sions plus t he bulk of his armor on the road and rail line from Mandalay to 
Rangoon. YQee Ma p 12 )| The rest of the force was switched to the Irra- 
waddy valley! In effect Slim was bypassing two still formidable groups of 
Japanese, 28th Army to the west above the Irrawaddy, and 36th Division to 
the east in the Shan States. Initially, Japanese resistance was stubborn, but 
as each Japanese position was reduced or bypassed, the daily bounds of Slim's 
forces grew even longer. On 6 and 7 April the Japanese 33d Army tried to 
hold north of Yamethin long enough to permit preparations for a major 
stand at Toungoo to the south. The 17th Indian Division broke up the 
attempt and the 33d's commander, Lt. Gen. Masaki Honda, barely escaped 
with his life. General Honda extricated his force, and again tried to stand at 
Pyinmana, forty-five miles south, on 19 April. The 5th Indian Division 
summarily ended the attempt. When the morning of 20 April arrived, 
Honda and his staff", fighting as infantry, managed to break through the 
Indian lines, but their radio communications were destroyed and they were 
out of touch with their troops. Slim's men had broken the last brittle crust 
of Japanese resistance above Rangoon, and were fairly in the clear. By 25 
April the 17th Indian Division was 144 miles from Rangoon. If the weather 

40 Ltr, Wheeler to Hull, 16 May 45; Memo for Record, 16 May 45; Ltr, Hull to Wheeler, 18 
Jun 45. OPD 384 TS, Sec I (1-20). ' 

41 History of IBT, II, 340. 



326 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




American Officers, OSS Detachment 101, are shown with General Sultan at an 
advanced ranger base in Burma, June 1945. 



held, it could hope to reach Rangoon before the amphibious attack, then 
set for 2 May. 

While Slim's men were cleaning their guns and preparing their tanks and 
trucks for the advance on Rangoon, off the flank, on what had been the 
NCAC front south of Lashio, a miniature campaign under U.S. sponsorship 
was developing. The NCAC move southward had been screened and 
guided by Burmese irregulars recruited, trained, and led by the OSS. As the 
campaign progressed they had grown in strength, and by late March they 
were taking the field in battalions. In early April OSS sought and received 
permission to continue south from the area of Lashio with about 3,200 men, 
armed with small arms, rocket launchers, machine guns, and trench mortars. 
On 27 April their offensive began. 

The mission of the U.S.-sponsored Burmese troops, OSS Detachment 101, 
was to clear the Japanese from the central Shan States to the Taunggyi road. 
Fortunately for them, since their only support was the 60th Fighter Squadron, 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



327 



Tenth Air Force, the Japanese 36th Division had orders to move south into 
the southern Shan States. The OSS battalions — 1st, 10th, 2d, and 3d — 
deployed on a 75-mile front from near Maymyo on the west to the area Ke-hsi 
Mansam on the east. In the days that followed, they exchanged some sharp 
blows with the Japanese. An aggressive Japanese commander read the 1st 
Battalion a lesson on concentration of effort by attacking first one half, then 
the other, of its forces, and pushing it away from two villages. Generally, 
the Japanese rear guard garrisons were content to hold what they had and 
try to run their convoys past the OSS troops' ambushes. When, as on 8 
May, the Japanese sent out punitive expeditions, the guerrillas would let the 
Japanese have a taste of fighting up steep wooded hillsides into machine 
gun fire, then withdraw when the Japanese pressure grew too heavy. 

From the west, the 64th Indian Infantry Brigade was preparing to attack 
toward Taunggyi from the area through which Slim's task force had passed 
in its drive toward Rangoon. In late May and early June it met stiff resist- 
ance west of Taunggyi, where bypassed Japanese held strong defensive posi- 
tions. The 64th had to fight its way up from the central Burma plain into 
the hills of the Shan plateau. Not until 16 June did the 64th take Heho, 
thirteen miles west of Taunggyi, in the area where the 1st Battalion had its 
setback a month before. With British forces now operating in the area, it 
seemed well to yield control of operations to them, and this was done as of 
1 July. Not until 25 July was Taunggyi taken, by the 99th Indian Infantry 
Brigade, which suggests that Detachment 101 cannot claim to have cleared 
the area. 42 

In central Burma, signs of Japanese weakness were everywhere, such as 
railroad trains overrun in the station yards. Reading the signs aright, the 
Japanese-trained Burmese Army went over to the British en masse. Not 
only was this a most severe psycholological blow to the Japanese, but the 
Burmans harassed Japanese rear installations and killed Japanese stragglers 
and small parties. On 29 April there was plain evidence that the Japanese 
defense of Rangoon was finally breaking. A column of some 400 prisoners 
of war from Rangoon, released by the Japanese, entered the lines of the 17th 
Indian Division. Some of them had been captured by the Japanese from 
the 17th in the 1942 defeat; the wheel had turned full circle. But un- 
happily for the 17th's hopes of being first in Rangoon, that same day the 
monsoon rains opened with a crash in the Pegu area. Tanks and trucks 
were now largely roadbound. Rangoon's occupation was left to the Royal 
Navy. 

Beginning 27 April the several task groups for the air and amphibious 
assaults on Rangoon began putting to sea. Attacks on Rangoon's seaward 

42 (1) ALFSEA Record, pp. 118-19. (2) History of IBT, II, 342-49. 



328 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Lt. Gen. Raymond A. Wheeler (right), new Commanding General, India-Burma 
Theater, shakes hands with his predecessor, General Sultan, during departure ceremonies 
for the latter at New Delhi, 23 June 1945. 



defenses, including a paratroop drop, began on 1 May, and the minesweepers 
started up the Irrawaddy. One aerial observer reported a message painted on 
the roof of the Rangoon jail that the Japanese were gone. It was ignored 
and bombing continued, but word of the sign must have spread quickly. 
Next day an RAF pilot and observer saw no signs of activity at Mingaladon 
airfield, outside Rangoon, and decided to land there. The field was well 
cratered with bombing, and the plane crashed. Undaunted, the pilot walked 
into Rangoon, on to the jail. The Japanese were gone. Rangoon was 
occupied the day after, 3 May. 

After Rangoon's fall, there was in effect a long cordon of British troops 
stretching from Mandalay to Rangoon. West of it were the remnants of 
the Japanese 28th Army, the veterans of the Arakan campaign. Their at- 
tempts to break through the British lines in July with some 25,000 men, 
assisted by the 33d Army to the east, marked the last major action of the 
campaign. British intelligence and reconnaissance brought clear indication 



ROLE OF THE INDIA-BURMA BASE 



329 



of the projected breakthrough. The 17th Indian Division sited strong- 
points in the path of the breakthrough along the few practicable routes left 
by the monsoon floods. From these, the 17th's veterans exacted the final 
retribution for 1942, as the Japanese sought to make their way through heavy 
machine gun and artillery fire. By the time the fighting ended in August, 
the Japanese did get a large portion of their force between the 17th's strong- 
points and across the Sittang River. Estimation of their casualties is difficult 
because of administrative changes and lost records, but on 20 September, the 
28th Army mustered only 7,949 men for duty, had 1,919 in the hospital, and 
carried 4,822 as missing but expected to return. In contrast, the British lost 
but 95 dead and 322 wounded between 20 July and 4 August. 43 

The liberation of Rangoon and victory in Burma were fittingly celebrated 
by a victory parade in that city. While the festivities were in course, the 
India-Burma Theater commander, General Sultan, was surprised to receive 
a radio from Washington calling him back to be Chief of Engineers. His 
tour of duty ended 23 June 1945. For his services in India and Burma he 
received the Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze 
Star, and the Chinese Order of the Cloud and Banner with Special Grand 
Cordon. His successor was General Wheeler. Wheeler had created the 
SOS in CBI back in 1942, when every day was a struggle to improvise and 
expedite. From SOS commander he had become Principal Administrative 
Officer, SEAC. On Stilwell's recall in 1944 he added the title of Deputy 
Supreme Allied Commander. Now, he was to finish his overseas career as 
U.S. India-Burma Theater commander. 44 The biggest task facing him was 
that of supporting Wedemeyer's operations against the Canton-Hong Kong 
area. Plan Beta. 

43 (1) Japanese Study 132. Strength tables facing pp. 77, 56. (2) Mountbatten Report, Pt 
B, pars. 542-48, 591-603. 

44 History of IBT, II, 420. 



CHAPTER XI 



Preparing a Drive to the China Coast 

The requests for tonnage that Wedemeyer presented to India-Burma 
Theater and the ATC were the logistical requirements for operations to take 
the Canton-Hong Kong area and support the transfer of the Tenth Air 
Force from SEAC to China. As soon as plans and preparations for Alpha 
were well under way, Wedemeyer had ordered his planners to outline an 
operation in which the U.S. -sponsored Chinese divisions of the Alpha plan 
would take the offensive toward the seacoast. On 29 January 1945 the Gen- 
eralissimo was advised of the trend of Wedemeyer's thinking, and in the 
days that followed Wedemeyer mentioned shifting the center of China 
Theater operations toward the east. 1 

Plan BETA 

By informally writing to General Hull, Wedemeyer began laying the 
groundwork for War Department approval of his plans. He told Hull that 
he envisaged a strategic air force (the Fourteenth) and a tactical (the Tenth) 
in China, the two commanded by some officer like General Stratemeyer. 
This powerful new force would support the Alpha divisions in taking a 
seaport in the fall. By so writing, Wedemeyer was accepting an organiza- 
tion proposed by the Tenth Air Force on 15 January 1945. 2 

Operations on the scale envisaged would require aid from neighboring 
theater commanders and the concurrence and support of the Joint Chiefs. 
On 5 February Wedemeyer outlined his intentions for the benefit of his 
colleagues and his superiors. He thought that the Alpha troops could 
take the offensive in July or August, with the weather in southeast China 
favoring their operations. By then, fifteen to twenty-five divisions should be 
ready. "We have considered an attack from Kweiyang eastward to acquire 
air, bases and to cut enemy communications lines in area Heng-yang-Ling- 

1 Min, Mtg 34, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 29 Jan 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

2 (1) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Hull, 29 Jan 45. Case 37, OPD 381 (TS), Sec II. (2) The Army 
Air- Forces in World War II, V, 268. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 331 




Meeting at Yalta, in the Crimea, attended by President Roosevelt, Prime Minister 
Churchill, and Marshal Joseph Stalin. 



ling. This would be feasible only if enemy materially reduces forces south 
of Yangtze. An air and ground outline plan is being prepared for drive on 
Liuchow-Nanning area thence east against Canton-Hong Kong." 3 

While this radio was being studied by the staffs to whom it was 
addressed, President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill, and Marshal Stalin 
were meeting on Russian soil, at the Crimean resort town of Yalta. One 
of the topics of discussion was China. Probably it was in preparation for 
Yalta that Marshall on 26 January asked Wedemeyer to report on the situa- 
tion in China, which Wedemeyer did on 5 February. "In event" the 
Russians entered the war in Asia, Wedemeyer thought they could do so 
four months after the German defeat (estimated as late spring) and that they 
could add thirty divisions to the thirty he credited the Soviets with having in 



3 Rad CFB 32476, Wedemeyer to MacArthur et al., info Marshall and King, 5 Feb 
45. Wedemeyer Data Book. 



332 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



the Far East. If this estimated timing proved correct, winter might restrict 
Russian operations in the Far East. Wedemeyer did not suggest that any- 
thing be done to obtain Soviet entrance into the Pacific war. His comments 
on the future course of Chinese operations suggest that as of 5 February he 
thought the Chinese armies carrying out the operations he now contem- 
plated could "destroy the Japanese on the Asiatic mainland" and make im- 
possible any large-scale Japanese redeployment from the Asiatic mainland to 
Japan in time to meet an American invasion. 

It will probably be the first of July at the earliest before effective ground operations 
can be undertaken. China Theater is striving to undertake coordinated ground and air 
operations against the Japanese from the west in time to disrupt their planned redeploy- 
ment to meet possible U.S. advances from the Pacific and to prevent the withdrawal of 
forces from Asia into Japan proper. It is believed that if our operations can be initiated 
in July they will catch the Japanese off-balance and probably preclude planned redistribu- 
tion of their forces. In the event they are preparing to withdraw bulk of forces to the 
north of the Yangtze these operations will probably hasten that withdrawal. In any 
event, our operations, if successful, would give the Chinese army much needed combat 
experience and confidence and could result in opening port of Canton-Hong Kong. 
When sea communications are reestablished, it will be possible to dispense with the 
prodigious effort required to supply China via India. Further, the increased flow of sup- 
plies in conjunction with victorious battle experience may inspire confidence and create 
conditions that will enable the Chinese forces to destroy the Japanese on the Asiatic main- 
land without large-scale American ground participation. 4 

At Yalta, President Roosevelt was willing to pay a high price for timely 
Soviet entry into the war against Japan. The three Powers agreed that the 
United States would obtain Chinese concurrence to the conference protocol's 
listing of Soviet aspirations in Manchuria as a quid pro quo for prompt 
Soviet intervention against Japan, and further guaranteed fulfillment of these 
Soviet claims. The Generalissimo was not to be informed of this agreement 
until the Soviet deployment was largely complete. During these conversa- 
tions, Premier Stalin observed that he recognized "the need for a united 
China under Chiang Kai-shek's leadership." However, in the formal state- 
ment of accord between the three Great Powers at Yalta, the Soviet intent 
was modestly defined as "readiness" to conclude a pact with Nationalist 
China "for the purpose of liberating China from the Japanese yoke." 5 

The probable sphere of Soviet military action, Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, 
and north China, was far removed from the area of projected Sino-American 

4 Ibid. 

5 (1) Conversations Regarding Entry of USSR into War Against Japan, 10 Feb 45. Foreign 
Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers, Dept State Pub 6199, The Conferences at Malta 
and Yalta. 1945 (Washington, 1955). (2) Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An 
Intimate History (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948). pp. 866-68. (3) Quotations from 
Statement of W. Averell Harriman, 13 July 1951, to the Committees on Armed Services 
and Foreign Relations of the United States Senate, 82d Congress. Hearings on the Military Situ- 
ation in the Far East, Pt. 5, App. and Index, pp. 3,333-34. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



333 



operations in China, the Canton-Hong Kong area, but if the Japanese con- 
centrated their forces in north China to meet the Soviet threat, as Okamura 
had been warned was likely, then opportunities in southeast China would 
open for Wedemeyer and the Generalissimo. That, in retrospect, seems to 
have been the extent of the connection between U.S. theater headquarters in 
China and the implementation of the Yalta agreements. 

The plan drafted by Wedemeyer's staff for an offensive in southeast China 
was an ambitious one. On 14 February, formulated as Plan Beta, it was 
formally presented to the Generalissimo at a gathering in Wedemeyer's head- 
quarters. Present as distinguished American guests were Ambassador Hurley 
and Rear Adm. Charles M. Cooke, the latter just back from Yalta. Among 
the Chinese delegation was General Chen Cheng, Minister of War. 6 

Beta assumed that the war in Europe would end 15 May 1945; that 
Allied Pacific operations would continue as planned and force the Japanese 
armies in China to redeploy north and east to meet actual or projected U.S. 
landings in China; and that the Japanese would steadily weaken in 1945. 
As for logistical support, it was assumed that a four-inch pipeline would be 
complete to Kunming 15 July, and that the Hump and the Stilwell Road 
together would deliver 60,000 tons a month. 

Beta's objectives, as listed by the theater planners, were fourfold: (1) to 
make effective use of the anticipated increase in supply deliveries to China; 
(2) to improve the local military situation and contribute to Pacific opera- 
tions; (3) to improve the morale and efficiency of the Chinese Army; (4) 
to open a seaport, and help prepare China Theater to begin the preliminaries 
involved in destroying the Japanese armed forces on the continent of Asia. 

Moving southeast to capture the Liuchow-Nanning area was Phase I. 
Kunming's present defenders, now in the Kweiyang area, could move on 
those cities by the target date of 1 May without disturbing their current dis- 
positions or training schedules. Air and ground lines of communications to 
Liuchow could be set up to support further operations eastward. The Japa- 
nese seemed overextended and taking the area would cut their lines of com- 
munications to the south. Phase II was consolidation of the Liuchow- 
Nanning area. At this time, any soft spots which might reveal themselves, 
particularly toward the sea south of this area, would be exploited. Phase III 
would be the preparatory period for the actual attack on Canton and Hong 
Kong. The planners believed that one indication of completion of this 
phase would be successfully cutting off the Japanese to the south. At its 
conclusion the assault forces would be concentrated, fully equipped, at full 
strength, with their line of communications and supply dumps all in order. 

The China Theater planners, under Col. Paul W. Caraway, realized there 



6 Min, Mtg 39, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 14 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 



334 



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might be a very vigorous Japanese reaction, so they had an alternative 
course at hand. This was to open a coastal base in the vicinity of Luichow 
Peninsula, so that supplies brought in from the Pacific could give added 
weight to the attack on Canton and Hong Kong. 

Phase IV of Beta was the actual attack on the two great seaports, to 
open an oceanic line of communications to a major Chinese port early in 
1946. Such a port would be a great base from which to support later offen- 
sives, would permit a tighter air and sea blockade of Japan, and would facili- 
tate cleaning up Japanese garrisons in Formosa, south China, and Hainan. 

To assist this main effort diversions were contemplated all the way from 
Hanoi to Hsian. Ground patrols, reconnaissances in force, limited objective 
attacks, all were to distract the Japanese and keep them off balance. Wede- 
meyer's staff believed that some 208 Chinese divisions, with 1,700,000 men, 
could help in this, though it was thought shortages of small arms and am- 
munition would make it unsafe to plan on receiving help from more than 
10 to 15 percent of these forces. 

The time schedule for training and equipping divisions to take part in 
Beta was: 



1 May 1945: 10 Chinese divisions for the main effort 

15 May 1945: 5 Chinese divisions to menace Hanoi; 3 to threaten 

Heng-yang 

15 July 1945: 7 Chinese divisions to complete the build-up in the 

Liuchow area 

1 September to 

1 November 1945: H Chinese divisions plus all that could be trained, 
equipped, and supported under this plan 

1 November 1945: 36 Chinese divisions, numbering about 500,000 men 
at full strength 

Twenty specially trained commando units, numbering 200 men each, were 
also to be created to be used as soon as possible before 1 May 1945. 

The air forces were to have a major role in Beta, for they were to at- 
tempt the isolation of the Japanese defenders from their sources of supply 
in north and central China. To do this, the American air forces in China 
were to subordinate everything but maintenance of local air superiority to 
carrying out their share in Beta. The planners believed that Japanese lines 
of communication from north China and the homeland converged in the 
Hankow area. Thence, southward, the Japanese sent supplies by rail and 
river to Changsha, and from there by rail and road to Kweilin, Liuchow, 
and Nanning. Beta contemplated continuing interdiction of these routes 
by medium bombers and fighters and, in the latter phases, interdiction of 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



335 



local roads and rail lines in the objective area. Tactical air support was to 
be made available throughout. In the final phase, there was to be heavy 
bombing of the Japanese defenses in the Canton-Hong Kong area. 

Air supply was to play a major part in moving the Chinese forces east- 
ward. Heavy reinforcements of transport aircraft were expected after Ger- 
many's defeat. These were to help provide air supply to the forward areas. 
Once Liuchow was taken, then an airline from Luzon to Liuchow was to 
be organized. The planners thought this would be a potent means of ac- 
cumulating supplies. The heavy dependence on air transport reflected 
awareness of the difficulties of moving arms and men in China. Though 
trucks were coming in over the Stilwell Road in increasing numbers, bad 
roads, poor drivers, scarcity of fuel, spares, and maintenance facilities all 
made it desirable, if the means were at hand, simply to fly over the hamper- 
ing road net. Additional airfields would be needed, the planners concluded, 
and they wanted U.S. aviation engineer battalions to build them. 

After weighing the pros of the operation, such as the tremendous 
impetus to U.S. activities in China that would come from opening a port, 
and the cons, such as the circumstance that much of Beta would have to be 
carried out during the season of low clouds and heavy rains, the fact emerged 
that internal distribution of supplies was the key to effective logistical sup- 
port for Beta. Wedemeyer's staff hoped that bringing enough supplies 
into China to support two air forces and equip thirty-six Chinese divisions, 
then moving this tonnage many hundreds of miles east from Kunming, 
could be done by the contemplated increased Hump tonnage and by open- 
ing the airline from Luzon. Within China, every means of transport was 
to be utilized— truck, sampan, coolie, and aircraft. 

The supply requirements for Beta, in terms of tonnage, reflected the 
planning of all the major theater agencies. If any erred in its estimates, ac- 
tivities all over China in 1945 would be affected. Tonnage requirements for 
Beta were estimated as follows: 7 

Agency Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug 

AAF 24,470 29,560 26,000 31,000 39,356 41,711 42,097 42,883 

SOS 8,500 8,500 8,800 9,300 9,600 9,900 10,200 10,500 

CCC-CTC 1,500 1,500 1,700 1,900 2,100 2,300 2,300 2,500 

This, then, was Beta, a four-stage operation to open a seaport, and on 
the afternoon of 14 February it received the Generalissimo's approval. For 
the first time since China and the United States became Allies, the General- 
issimo agreed to a major offensive effort within the historic provinces of 

7 Plan Beta, Tab D, App E. OCMH. The same plan gives the 1945 tonnage requirements 
for all China Theater activities, by month, as: 

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug 

43,089 40,900 43,000 53,500 62,000 62,000 62,000 62,000 



336 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



China proper. 8 It was now necessary to obtain the approval and support of 
the U.S. Government. 

Wedemeyer's Visit to Washington 

From the War Department Wedemeyer received permission to return to 
the United States to present Beta to the JCS, together with his comments 
on the organizational changes he would like to make in China Theater to 
knit his command more firmly together. Ambassador Hurley elected to re- 
turn with Wedemeyer. Some years after the war Hurley recalled that he 
had heard rumors of extensive concessions to the Soviets at China's expense, 
and that, since any such development would greatly affect his mission to 
China, he was anxious to be informed. 9 

Wedemeyer's presentation of Beta was effective. The Joint War Plans 
Committee presented the view that U.S. operations against Okinawa would 
lead the Japanese to thin out their forces in south China and so make Beta 
possible by September. On 20 April the JCS approved Beta. On the 
vital question of logistical support, Wedemeyer and his party left Washing- 
ton with the distinct impression that the C-54 transports required to sup- 
port Beta and the displacement of the Tenth Air Force to China on the 
schedule desired by Wedemeyer would be forthcoming. For its part, the 
War Department understood that it had approved sending Stratemeyer and 
his headquarters to command in China, to be followed by. the Tenth as sup- 
port became available. So as they parted, Wedemeyer and his staff expected 
to hear that C-54's were coming to India, while the War Department 
expected to learn of Stratemeyer 's move to China. 10 

In the field of high policy, the War Department was able to present 
Wedemeyer, together with MacArthur, Sultan, and Wheeler (the latter at 
SEAC), with a statement of U.S. policy toward China. Explicitly desiring 
guidance for its staff and for Wedemeyer, the War Department had asked 
the State Department to furnish it. The State Department responded, Secre- 
tary of War Stimson described the paper as "OK," and the War Depart- 
ment passed it to Wedemeyer with appropriate cautions: ". . . This policy 
should be made known only to key American staff officers who require the 
knowledge in the discharge of their duties ... it represents the current 
State Department position and is subject to revision in the light of later 
development." Wedemeyer was further told that the paper was for his 
"guidance." Such a statement of policy regarding China was something of 

8 (1) Beta is described in History of China Theater, Ch. IX, pp. 1-14. (2) Min, Mtg 39A, 
Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 14 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

9 (1) Rad CFB 32477, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 5 Feb 45. Item 346, Bks 1 and 2, ACW 
Personal File. (2) Interv with Hurley, Jun 49. The Yalta meeting lasted from 4 to 1 1 Febru- 
ary 1945. Hurley left soon after. 

,H Memo, Capt E. D. Graves, USN, Dep Secy JCS. for ACofS OPD and Aide to COMINCH, 20 
Apr 45, sub: Priority of Resources for Operation RASHNESS. ABC 384 China (15 Dec 43), Sec 
1-B. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



337 



a novelty, for Stilwell had complained several times that he could not find 
out what was U.S. policy toward China. 11 

The paper stated that the short-term objective of the United States was to 
unify all China's resources for war against Japan. The long-term objective 
was to help develop "a united, democratically progressive, and cooperative 
China." The State Department believed that Wedemeyer should focus on 
the short-term objective, and the letter of transmittal put the stamp of War 
Department approval on the advice. Some rearmament of Chinese forces 
would result, but measures "now" to arm China so as to make her a strong 
power did not, according to the view stated in the paper, appear practicable. 
The State Department would have liked to see the arming of all Chinese 
willing to fight Japan. Currently, it was impolitic to arm the Chinese Com- 
munists. If the United States was to undertake operations on the China 
coast, commanders should be prepared to arm the Communists. The paper 
observed that interest in unifying China did not necessarily mean that China 
should be united under the Generalissimo. It closed by stating that a degree 
of flexibility should be maintained, which would, in turn, leave open the ques- 
tion of a specific postwar rearmament program. 

The first impact of the attempt to state U.S. policy in China would ap- 
pear to have been on Ambassador Hurley's efforts to mediate between the 
Nationalist and Communist forces, for he came to believe that the Chinese 
Communists, having obtained a copy of the statement of policy, were thereby 
encouraged to resist his efforts at mediation. For, if the United States was 
prepared to concede that unifying China did not necessarily mean that China 
should be united under the leadership of the Generalissimo, Chiang Kai-shek, 
then the Chinese Communists had a powerful incentive to maintain their 
identity and resist the Generalissimo's terms. 12 

11 (1) Ltr with Incl, Hull to Wedemeyer et al., 27 Feb 45, sub: U. S. Short and Long Range 
Objectives in China. (2) The paper is described as a "statement of policy" in a memorandum, 
Col. Harrison A. Gerr;ardt, Executive to Mr. John J. McCloy, Assistant Secretary of War, to Gen- 
eral Handy, 26 February 1945. Gerhardt explained further that McCloy obtained the paper from 
the Under Secretary of State, Mr. Joseph C. Grew. (3) McCloy told Stimson: "As you recall, 
this report was requested by the War Department for the guidance of the staff and General Wede- 
meyer." Memorandum, McCloy to Stimson, 17 February 1945, with penned note from Stimson: 
"So far as it goes I think is OK— and I don't see how we can go much further in formulating pol- 
icy until we are in the Jap homeland— and also know what Russia is going to do. H.L.S." All 
above in ABC 336 China (26 Jan 42 ), Sec 1-B. (4) Stilwell' s Command Problems. |Ch. XII.] 

12 (1) Hurley, in 1949, told the authors that a contact of his among the Chinese Commu- 
nists gave him his first knowledge of the 27 February policy statement by using it to clinch the 
Communist argument that Hurley's statements to the Yenan regime did not represent current 
U.S. policy. There is no mention in the supporting papers to the 27 February statement of China 
policy that a copy of it was being sent to the U.S. Ambassador to China. (2) Ltr, Hurley to 
Stephens, 15 Dec 56. OCMH. (3) Memo, Somervell for Marshall, 15 May 45, sub: Overland 
LOC to China. WDCSA 091 China. This memorandum discusses the Beta operation (called 
Rashness for security reasons) from the ASF point of view. (4) Lt. Col. Gustav E. Johnson, 
The Deployment of the AAF to China From India and Events After August, 1945, 7 May 1956. 
Research Studies Institute, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Hereafter, Johnson MS. 
(5) JCS 1238, 30 January 1945, approved an offensive in China. (6) JPS 609/1, 27 Feb 45. 



338 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



In a sphere less august but still one where Wedemeyer had feared em- 
barrassment, that of clandestine activity in China, he was able to have his 
wishes satisfied. Navy Group, China, including its activities as part of SACO 
under General Tai Li of trie Chinese secret police, was put under his control. 
Slightly earlier, OSS, China, had also been brought into the fold. 13 

While in Washington, Wedemeyer, Hurley, and Commodore Miles of 
Navy Group, China, offered their observations on the scene in China. They 
spoke against a background of China Theater's effort to create thirty-six U.S.- 
sponsored Chinese divisions, well fed, well led, fully equipped, and trained, 
supported by an efficient services of supply and a revitalized air force, and 
thoroughly blooded by driving the Japanese out of south and central China. 
Their appraisals of China's future implicitly assumed the existence of such a 
force. 

In his memoirs, Admiral William D. Leahy recalled that on 27 March 
Wedemeyer and his associates told the Joint Chiefs that "the rebellion in 
China could be put down by comparatively small assistance to Chiang's central 
government. Wedemeyer seemed to believe then that further serious ad- 
vances of the Japanese in China could be prevented, but he was encountering 
difficulties in controlling the Chinese war lords and political officers as well 
as having trouble with the British officials in Asia and with some of his own 
temperamental general officers." A low estimate of the future military capa- 
bilities of the Chinese Communists and concern for British activities in China 
were expressed several times by Wedemeyer in April and May 1945 and by 
Hurley often in the first six months of 1945 and are part of the background 
against which they shaped their policies. 14 

Hurley left Washington 3 April 1945, to return to his post at Chungking 
via London and Moscow. Having gone to Washington from China because 
he was disturbed by the versions of the Yalta agreement circulating in Chung- 
king, he went to the White House to clarify the matter, and in a rather bel- 
ligerent mood. But finding the President looking worn, he approached the 
matter tactfully and quietly. Over the next few days Roosevelt and Hurley 
had several discussions of the Yalta agreement, in which Hurley made plain 
his impression that the territorial integrity and political independence of China 
had been affected by the Yalta accord. Initially, the President denied this, 

13 (1) CM-OUT 34942, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 7 Feb 45. (2) Memorandum for Record 
by General Hull of OPD, 29 March 1945, WDCSA 091, China, covers Navy Group, China. 

14 (1) Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy, I Was There: The Personal Story of the Chief of Staff 
to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time (New 
York: Whittlesey House, McGraw Hill Book Company, Inc., 1950), p. 337. (2) See Memo- 
randum of Conversation between Generalissimo and Hurley, 16 February 1945, in which Hurley 
told the Generalissimo that when the war was over his well-equipped divisions would have a walk- 
over if he fought the Communists. Item 35, Bk 2, Hurley Papers. (3) Rad, Hurley to Tru- 
man, 20 May 45. Item 98, Bk 2, Hurley Papers. (4) Rad CFB 38387, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 
31 May 45. Item 787, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



339 



but when Hurley reinforced his arguments by citations of the text of the 
agreement— after he had finally broken the elaborate security barrier and ob- 
tained a copy— the President agreed that something should be done, in Hur- 
ley's later phrase, to "ameliorate" the Yalta accord. 

Hurley's reports of 13 and 17 April, written a few weeks after these inter- 
views, give the instructions of the President as: 

... to obtain cooperation from the British and Soviet Governments for the American 
policy to support the National Government in China; to unite the military forces of China 
to bring the war with Japan to a speedy end and to support all reasonable efforts of Chi- 
nese leaders for the purpose of creating a free, united, democratic China. . . . [13 April 
1945] 

... to confer with Prime Minister Churchill on unification of the armed forces of 
China and endorsement of China's aspirations to establish a free, united, democratic gov- 
ernment of China. ... To promote the foregoing program it had been decided to support 
the National Government of China under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek. [17 April 
1945] 

Hurley's interviews with Churchill and Stalin on such large questions of 
policy were no casual matter, but a major diplomatic effort, undertaken on 
behalf of the President because Roosevelt had had long second thoughts on 
the Yalta agreement. Repair of the weaknesses in the Yalta accord could 
not be accomplished overnight; the first step was to persuade the other parties 
to agree firmly to support U.S. policy in China. Once that was obtained, 
then the Yalta accord would have to be interpreted in the light of the later 
Soviet and British commitments. 

These interviews with Churchill and Stalin seemed to Hurley to have been 
eminently successful, and he so reported to the State Department, and to 
President Harry S. Truman, who at this delicate juncture in American foreign 
policy development had just succeeded President Roosevelt. In Hurley's re- 
port of 17 April he told the State Department: "We obtained from Prime 
Minister Churchill and Foreign Secretary Eden complete concurrence in the 
policy. . . . Stalin stated emphatically that the Soviet Government would sup- 
port the policy. He added that he would be glad to cooperate with the U.S. 
and Britain in achieving unification of the military forces in China." 15 

On returning to Chungking, Hurley discussed the provisions of the Yalta 

1S (1) Intervs with Hurley, 1949. (2) Hearings Before the Committee on Armed Services 
and the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 82d Congress, Part 4, pp. 2884- 
87. (3) Memorandum by Edward Page, Second Secretary of Embassy, Moscow, on Meeting 15 
April 1945 Between Harriman, Hurley, Stalin, and Molotov. Item 69, Hurley Bk 2. Oddly 
enough, although Hurley began his interview by discussing with Stalin the question of unifying 
the armed forces of China, he said that the main purpose of his visit to Moscow had been to dis- 
cuss the next question brought up by Stalin: When was Chiang to learn of the Yalta accord? 
When the unification issue was apparently settled, almost as soon as it was raised, by Stalin's 
ready acquiescence, Hurley may have thought it tactful to attach major importance to a point Stalin 
raised. (4) Rad, Hurley to Truman. 13 Apr 45. Items 66, 67, Hurley Bk 2. (5) Rad, 
Hurley to Secy State, 17 Apr 45. Item 73, Hurley Bk 2. In this radio, drafted by Hurley, the 
emphasis is on Stalin's agreement to support U. S. policy. 



340 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



agreement with Chiang Kai-shek, but without identifying them as such. 
Thanks to this device, on 10 May 1945 he was able to give Chinese reactions 
as: "I am convinced that he will agree to every one of the requirements but 
will take exceptions to the use of two words 'preeminent' and 'lease.' These 
words have bad connotations in China. They have been involved in the con- 
troversies over extraterritoriality. These two words seem to impinge on the 
principles of the territorial integrity and independent sovereignty of China." 
Hurley, therefore, advised the President that the Chinese objected to the 
Soviets' having pre-eminent interests in the port of Dairen, to the lease of 
Port Arthur as a Soviet naval base, and to the pre-eminent interests of the 
Soviet Union in the Manchurian rail system. All that China would willingly 
have agreed to in the Yalta accord were those provisions relating to Japanese 
territory and to Outer Mongolia— neither of which was apt to pass under 
Chinese control. In his message Hurley suggested that Stalin's assent to tell- 
ing Chiang Kai-shek formally of the Yalta accord be obtained as soon as 
possible. In acknowledging Hurley's report Truman confined himself to the 
question of notifying the Chinese of the Yalta agreement. He did not think 
the time appropriate. 16 

Logistical Obstacles to BETA 

Even as Wedemeyer was presenting Beta to the Joint Chiefs, his staff 
and principal subordinates in China were beginning to find the logistical 
problems of Beta assuming a steadily graver aspect. As presented to the 
JCS, Beta set very definite and rather modest tonnages for the SOS and Chi- 
nese Combat Command. For the SOS, monthly tonnages were to rise slowly 
from 8,500 in January to 10,500 in July. The CCC was to have 1,500 tons 
in January and 2,300 in July. However, a rather considerable number of 
Americans were flown in to China in early 1945 to increase theater strength. 
The most conspicuous example was the project of bringing in the men who 
had formed Mars Task Force. As a result of these increases, the SOS jumped 
in strength from about 4,000 men in January 1945 to 10,000 in June 1945. 
The Chinese Combat Command went from about 4,000 men to 7,000. 17 

16 (1) Rad, Hurley to President, 10 May 45; Rad, President to Hurley, 13 May 45. Items 
88, 89, Hurley Bk 2. (2) Supporting the impression of second thoughts in regard to Yalta that 
is left by the Hurley papers are two documents in ABC 336 Russia (22 Aug 43) Sec 3. On 12 
May 1945, the State Department asked Stimson for War Department comment on the diplomatic 
issues arising from the expected Soviet entry into the Pacific War, and said it thought the United 
States should receive safeguarding commitments and clarifications to the Yalta accords before 
carrying out its part of them. Ltr, Joseph C. Grew, Actg Secy of State, to Stimson, 12 May 45. 
Tab 2. The War Department replied that the USSR had the power to take what it wanted in 
the Far East. Because of this the War Department felt something other than military means was 
needed to obtain the desired commitments, which it agreed would be helpful. Ltr, Stimson to 
Grew, 21 May 45, Tab 5. 

17 Rpt, Col Roger A. Flood, Pres, Boards of Investigation on Strength, Distribution, and Or- 
ganization of American Personnel in China Theater, 10 Oct 45, Tabs J, K, L. CT 41, 
Dr 1, KCRC. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



341 




Soldiers on a Troop Train en route from Kunming to Chanyi, 27 March 1945. 
These men are MARS Task Force veterans of the North Burma Campaign. 

Since the SOS estimated that every American soldier brought to China re- 
quired delivery of .62 tons of supplies every month, these increases meant 
that approximately 3,600 more tons were needed in June to supply the SOS 
than in January, while 1,800 tons more were needed for CCC. Therefore, 
even as the plan for an offensive against the Canton-Hong Kong area was 
being discussed, the logistic underpinnings were being taken away by a 
growth of the U.S. forces themselves which far outstripped that anticipated. 
So marked was the trend toward devoting an ever greater share of the Hump 
effort to support of the Americans themselves that whereas in January 1945 
only 48 percent of the Hump's capacity had been so used, by August Ameri- 
cans used 73 percent. 18 

Moreover, estimates varied sharply as to the usefulness of these Americans 
once they had arrived. For example, the Mars soldiers were two representa- 

18 Memo, Cols Edward H. Young, Albert S. Johnson, John W. Childs, for Actg CofS China 
Theater, 7 Jan 45, sub: Recommendations Pertaining to Reconsideration of Rpt on Strength, Dis- 
tribution, and Organization of American Personnel in China Theater, Tab 16, CT 41, Dr 
1, KCRC. 



342 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



tive regiments of U.S. infantry, who in combat had done all their superiors 
asked of them, and done it well. On arrival in China they were expected to 
act as liaison personnel and instructors for Chinese troops. But many of the 
Mars personnel did not have either the background or the temperament to 
act as teachers and advisers. The G-3, Central Command, later testified that 
only 17 or 18 percent of the 900 Mars men assigned to Central Command 
were usable in their new roles. The rest, he thought, were simply a bur- 
den. 19 Yet they needed about 500 tons of supplies every month, tonnage 
that would if converted to ammunition be enough to maintain a Chinese 
army for thirty days. 20 

The tonnage figures in the Beta plan given above refer to tonnage laid 
down at Kunming. From Kunming, supplies had to be moved east, and 
this effort to distribute Hump tonnage to the ultimate users in China was a 
major one. In drawing up Beta, the supply planners estimated that 14,000 
tons of Hump tonnage would have to be used for intra-China supply move- 
ments. In actual practice it was found that for August 1945, for example, 
the ground forces would need 29,060 tons to distribute their share of the sup- 
plies received over the Hump. 21 

By 26 March these factors were making themselves apparent. One of the 
junior participants at a commanders' conference in Kunming on that date, at 
which Chennault presided in Wedemeyer's absence, spelled out their impact: 

For the month of April, we have 52,615 tons available to us; the bids are for 72,314. 
In May, 55,590 tons available to us; bids are for 76,707; in June, we have 56,650 tons 
available to us; the bids are for 86,877 tons; in July, we have 64,400 tons available to us; 
the bids are for 88,965 tons. . . .We are faced with a great deficit unless we get [Hump] 
augmentation, or the plans are changed and bids changed accordingly. 22 

These remarks, accepted by the other conferees, showed that arrival of the 
C-54's was needed to give added capacity over and above that originally 
given as the cost of Beta. 

In April came a further blow— the Chihchiang campaign, with its de- 
mands for Hump tonnage to move Chinese troops to that area. 

After completing his mission to Washington, Wedemeyer returned to 
China via Calcutta. There on 9 April 1945 he met with the senior officers 
of the Tenth Air Force and the India-Burma Theater to discuss what now 
appeared to him to be settled policy, early movement of the Tenth Air Force 
to China. In the course of the conference Wedemeyer remarked that since 
no U.S. divisions would be available for operations in China, Chinese troops 
would have to open a seaport. General Stratemeyer's chief of staff, Brig. 

19 Testimony, Col David A. Craig, Tab 8 of Memo cited |n. 18] 

20 Maintenance factors for Chinese units are given on page 75 of the Plan Beta. OCMH. 

21 (1) Plan Beta, p. 35. OCMH. (2) Folder: Supply, China Theater- 1945. By Service 
Forces for Air and Ground Forces. OCMH. Table, "Cost of Distributing Hump Tonnage in 
China." The Johnson manuscript states that CCC and SOS greatly underestimated their needs. 

22 Min, CT Conf, 26 Mar 45. OCMH. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



343 



Gen. Charles B. Stone, III, continuing the discussion, said that supply ton- 
nage would be available to move the Tenth Air Force to China. On its ar- 
rival, the Tenth would become the tactical air force of the theater, while the 
Fourteenth, with the mission of interdicting Japanese lines of communications 
to southeast China, would be the strategic. General Stone added that Mar- 
shall and Arnold had approved bringing the Tenth to China. When Wede- 
meyer and his party returned to China, China Theater headquarters sent IBT 
its suggested schedule for transferring the Tenth. 23 

On his return, Wedemeyer had another task to perform, that of telling 
Chennault that the Fourteenth Air Force would be subordinate to another air 
headquarters, and that Stratemeyer would become the senior air officer in 
China. Chennault was not pleased by the prospect. On other occasions 
during this period he argued that moving the Tenth to China would not ac- 
tually increase U.S. combat strength, because the Fourteenth was not receiving 
enough supplies to operate at capacity. The Fourteenth Air Force minutes 
of the 19 April conference between the two men record: 

General Chennault stated that Beta Plan was dependent on gas and that SOS had com- 
pletely fallen down on delivery of aviation supplies. General Wedemeyer said, "In fairness 
to Cheves, don't say that,"— "logistic supplies have made a difference; the Chinese are 
making inroads into these. If I had 30 or 50 well-equipped divisions in this Theater, I 
could go places. So far the effort has not been concentrated." 

Gen. Chennault asked— "Do you supply these people?" [Chinese] 

Gen. Wedemeyer stated that he wanted to cannibalize certain divisions and organize 
labor battalions under semi-military control. 

Gen Chennault stated, "To illustrate what we mean about the tonnage deliveries— last 
year we received 6,500 tons; this year the figure is 1,000 over the Kweiyang highway by 
truck." 

Gen. Wedemeyer stated [to Col. Caughey] "Make a note of that."— "We apparently 
haven't improved the situation in China at all. The figures should be just the opposite." 

******* 

Gen. Chennault then summarized all the foregoing discussions in the statement that 
we have enough airplanes to do the job in mind but have not been able to operate them 
due to logistical status. 

Gen. Wedemeyer stated that if Gen. Chennault were theater commander he would do 
the same as he is doing. Had no ground forces worthy of the name when I arrived and 
the ground effort is now nil, but I have got to increase it. 

Gen. Chennault stated he was not questioning the above, but merely pointing out that 
we have enough air units in China now and that logistic matters will be even worse with 
additional units. 

Gen. Wedemeyer stated we will have to move them in to prevent their going South. 24 

******* 

2i ( 1 ) Johnson MS. ( 2) Se e| Chapter IX,| above, on the timing of the Tenth's move and 
the Burma campaign. 

24 Ltr with Incl, Col Fred C. Milner, AG Hq Fourteenth AF, to Wedemeyer, 28 Apr 45, sub: 
Transmittal of "Notes on Conference." AG 337 Misc, Folder, Meetings from 1944 to 30 Aug 
15, Box BA 51513, KCRC. 



344 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Maj. Gen. Howard C. Davidson, Commanding General, Tenth Air Force. 



In another interview with Wedemeyer, Chennault said that he would stay 
in China as long as his health permitted. Chennault commented freely on 
his long feud with Stilwell, and told Wedemeyer of his having corresponded 
directly with Roosevelt. But he assured Wedemeyer that he had no inten- 
tion of circumventing Stilwell or the War Department. 25 

Then a misunderstanding over the commitments made at Washington 
began to appear, with an announcement of 25 April from Washington that 
because of the redeployment program from the European theater there would 
be no great influx of C-54's. The ATC would, however, be able to deliver 
to China at Kunming 49,400 tons in May, 50,400 in June, 51,400 in July, 
and 53,400 in August (so-called "short-haul" tonnage). Ten thousand tons 
more would be flown in from Myitkyina. This approximated previous esti- 
mates. On 1 May Wedemeyer issued a general order naming Stratemeyer as 

25 (1) Min, Conf at Fourteenth AF Hq, 19 Apr 45. OCMH. (2) Ltr, Wedemeyer to Mar- 
shall, 13 Apr 45. Case 45, OPD 319.1 Sec I. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



345 



Commanding General, Army Air Forces, China Theater, with the Tenth and 
Fourteenth as subordinate forces. 26 

But when Sultan's and Stratemeyer's staffs had time to study the 25 April 
message from the War Department, they concluded that it implied China 
Theater would receive 25,000 tons a month less than was now known to be 
needed. 27 

Seeking to adjust his organizational plans to the lesser amount of support 
available, Wedemeyer asked Stratemeyer if he would be willing to come to 
China as commander of a smaller air force, with Chennault at Cheng-tu hav- 
ing a strategic mission and General Davidson of the Tenth at Lu-liang, a city 
east of Kunming, with a tactical mission. Wedemeyer explained that there 
appeared to be no alternative and that "I personally am interested in obtain- 
ing the service of officers like you and Davidson whom I know in my heart 
and mind would be loyal members of our team. I can not be confident of 
team play under any other possible arrangement." 28 Stratemeyer declined. 
Since in Wedemeyer's opinion the War Department had not implemented 
the ATC plan to the extent promised, his hands were tied. Stratemeyer did 
not think Wedemeyer would want him to step down to a command so small 
as the one contemplated. Instead, he suggested that what he called "the 
three old men," Chennault, Stratemeyer, and Davidson, all be sent back to 
the United States. However, if after noting Stratemeyer's views Wedemeyer 
wanted him, Stratemeyer would gladly go to China. 29 

Thus matters stood when Wedemeyer held a staff conference 7 May to 
study the question of moving the Tenth Air Force to China. He was aware 
that the whole of the Tenth could not go to China, but was still interested 
in bringing in Stratemeyer to command there. 30 Representatives of the Four- 
teenth Air Force attended the meeting. After the war Chennault believed 
that they had demonstrated that moving the Tenth to China would actually 
reduce the air effort through that air force's demands on Hump tonnage. 
Apparently, Wedemeyer accepted their arguments, for he decided that the 
Tenth as such could not be moved to China. He contemplated a rather 
elaborate air command structure, with Headquarters, AAF, China Theater, in 
Chungking next to his headquarters, a tactical air headquarters in the field 
adjacent to the tactical headquarters directing the drive to the coast, and a 
strategic headquarters at Cheng-tu. For the present, he reserved decision as 

26 (1) CM-OUT 72735, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 25 Apr 45. (2) GO 59, Hq USFCT, 1 
May 45. 

27 (1) Rad CFB 37059, Wedemeyer to Sultan, 9 May 45. (2) For example, in March, 
89,000 tons were bid for July, but the 25 April radio indicated only 61,400 would be received. 

28 Rad CFB 36860, Wedemeyer to Stratemeyer (prepared by Wedemeyer personally), 5 May 
45. Item 647, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. 

29 Rad CAB 5754, ACG, Stratemeyer to Wedemeyer, 6 May 45. Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal 
File. 

30 Item 833. Bks 3 and 4, ACW Personal File. 



346 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



to the identity of the senior air officer in China. To the War Department, 
he reported 11 May that China Theater's plans to augment its air strength 
were being restudied. He also observed that the Japanese drive on Chih- 
chiang had been stemmed only at heavy cost in Hump tonnage. This fact 
had further affected plans to open a seacoast port, so that it was necessary to 
restudy these plans as well. Wedemeyer then told Stratemeyer he had ad- 
vised the War Department that the Tenth Air Force could not be absorbed 
in China for several months. Chennault was told that he would be the com- 
mander of the augmented China-based air forces after the Tenth arrived, and 
he and his staff began planning for the change. 31 

The developments and realizations described above registered their impact 
on the theater command. On 12 May Brig. Gen. Douglas L. Weart, com- 
manding Rear Echelon headquarters, stated that General Wedemeyer did not 
want his officers to discuss the merits of theater plans with officers from out - 
side China Theater. The Beta plan (Rashness) might be beyond China 
Theater's present capabilities, Weart continued, but it did offer an approach 
toward the co-ordination of existing capabilities, and should be supported. 
Changes would be made as conditions developed. China Theater headquar- 
ters also decided that it would have to set 60,000 as the personnel ceiling for 
the year 1945— presumably till a seaport was somehow opened. 32 

The program for equipping Chinese divisions to take part in Rashness 
was affected by these influences. Though General McClure of the Chinese 
Combat Command could not agree with Wedemeyer's fears that Chinese divi- 
sions which had no place in Rashness were currently being equipped from 
U.S. stocks, he admitted that he found the equipment problem a puzzling 
one. As he put it: "Actually, Al, I have never known how many divisions 
could be equipped during 1945 or 1946, nor when any promised equipment 
would arrive in China. I do not know at present and there is no one I have 
met yet in the theater who can tell me. How in the Sam Hill can any of us 
plan on anything definite with such an indefinite L of C?" 33 

SOS Problems and China Operations 

General Cheves, the SOS commander in China, faced a dilemma, that of 
coping with the transport problem without burdening the theater's resources. 
He was very much concerned with the transportation problem, to one phase 

31 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, pp. 348-49. (2) Memo for Record, Gen Gross, Actg 
CofS, 8 May 45. AG 337, Folder, Conferences, Meetings, Etc. 1944-1945, Box BA 51513, 
KCRC. (3) Ltr. Wedemeyer to Marshall, 11 May 45. TS Reg 06106-M, DRB AGO. (4) 
Johnson MS. 

32 Min, Comdr's Mtgs, China Theater Hq, 12, 8 May 45. OCMH. 

33 Rad CFY 15688, McClure to Wedemeyer, info Weart, 5 May 45. Item 660, Bks 3 and 4, 
ACW Personal File 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



347 



of which McClure alluded, and wrote on 20 March that transportation was 
and would continue to be his "bottleneck and headache." To solve the prob- 
lem, to give the CCC the barest minimum of support, required men to drive 
and maintain the trucks, and to store and disburse supplies. Here General 
Cheves came up against his dilemma, for every man brought into China was 
a further drain on supplies, yet the SOS could hardly operate without more 
men. The shortage of spare parts, the shortage of trucks, the fact that sol- 
diers cannot be made qualified truck drivers by an order, the primitive na- 
ture of the Chinese road net, all were further complications. So a week later 
Cheves told Stratemeyer, 'T am accomplishing very little in the field." He 
had plans and money in abundance, but there was a sheer lack of men to do 
the SOS work, and so much of what he hoped to do had to stay on paper. 
Writing to an officer about to begin work with the Chinese SOS, Cheves 
observed: "I cannot give you any specific directive. All I can do is put you 
in the area, turn you loose, and tell you to see to it that the Chinese soldier 
gets a break in food, ammunition, and clothing and do not let technicalities 
stop you." 34 

Cheves attacked the transport problem in several of its aspects. Though 
the supply trucks were arriving steadily over the Stilwell Road, they were 
still relatively few, fewer even than drivers. So Cheves set up what he called 
the "block system." Under it, trucks were driven and maintained by men 
assigned to a section of the LOC, rather than to any one vehicle, and would, 
so Cheves hoped, operate for fifteen to twenty hours of the twenty-four. By 
27 March the general staff sections of SOS began to feel that the block sys- 
tem was proving itself on those roads where it had been set up. 35 

The condition of the roads was disturbing. Even the best and newest of 
Detroit's products developed maintenance problems on China's washboard 
roads, while drivers grew tired and suffered various ailments. Roads and road 
repairs were under the Chinese Ministry of Communications. To approach 
its problem coherently, SOS concluded that it should assist the Chinese to 
repair those roads necessary to support the thirty-six-division program. This 
meant aiding the Chinese with U.S. earth-moving equipment and operators. 
The next difficulty lay in obtaining funds for the Ministry of Communica- 
tions from the Chinese treasury, and then in persuading the Ministry to spend 
the money on projects not of its own devising. General Ho Ying-chin's 
field headquarters wanted General Cheves, as in effect commander of the Chi- 
nese SOS, to take over the whole project. Ho's chief of staff, General Hsiao 
I-hsu, thought the Ministry was reluctant to yield up such sizable sums and 
perhaps with it control of important public works. Untangling these prob- 

34 Ltr, Cheves to Brig Gen Edward C. Rose, 20 May 45", Ltr, Cheves to Stratemeyer, 27 Mar 
45; Ltr, Cheves to CO American Sec, Chinese SOS, Kweiyang. AG 201 (SOS-Cheves) , KCRC. 
" Min, SOS Gen Staff Conf, 27 Mar 45. SOS USFCT Files, KCRC. 



348 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



lems of administration and bureaucratic rivalry took time and during it the 
roads went unrepaired. 36 

In mid- April, Cheves observed that it was necessary to keep after the Chi- 
nese agencies. For the American part, he had not been able to bring in more 
than a negligible amount of heavy equipment, and on the matter of bridge 
material he was just beginning to get some encouragement. 

The problem of finding adequate numbers of qualified service personnel 
was increased by the reluctance of the Chinese Government to permit Negro 
troops to move freely about China. Initially, the Chinese hesitated to admit 
Negro troops at all. General Wedemeyer protested, saying that a hard and 
fast rule would interfere with the war effort. Many of the American service 
troops in India were Negro, and would be needed in China as the war effort 
moved eastward. The Generalissimo then agreed that Negroes might enter 
China as far as Kunming. The Chinese leader felt that his people might be 
excited by the sudden arrival of the Negro troops, that they were just now 
becoming accustomed to the presence of white people. 

By early February the Generalissimo was willing to let Negro troops go 
east of Kunming if required, but shared with Wedemeyer the understanding 
that they would be- admitted to China in small. numbers. Plainly, Cheves 
had to weigh more than administrative efficiency in deciding what units to 
requisition from India-Burma. 37 

On the question of obtaining drivers, the picture was beginning to brighten 
by mid- April. Discussions about starting a driver's school for the Chinese 
had been under way since the preceding November. Now, it was agreed 
that SOS would be responsible. Since the block system required numbers of 
drivers to make it work, recruitment was a vital point, but Cheves feared it 
was not appreciated by the Chinese, nor, he hinted, by Wedemeyer's head- 
quarters. Surveying the whole of the SOS field, so profoundly affected by 
transportation problems, he felt that the SOS was not meeting Wedemeyer's 
requirements. To this view, Wedemeyer himself now inclined. 38 

Help that India-Burma Theater might give Cheves was rigidly limited by 
the slowly growing capacity of the line of communications to China. As 
early as 3 April, General Somervell of Army Service Forces doubted that 
India-Burma Theater could support China's projected operations. China 
Theater had, as noted above, decided to recommend suspension of the six- 
inch pipeline project in order to release personnel for service in China. 39 

36 Min, Combined Staff (CCC and Chinese Supreme Hq) Mtg, 21 Feb 45. China Theater 
Files, KCRC. 

37 History of IBT, II, 283-84. (2) Min, Mtg 25, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 31 Dec 
44; Mtg 38, 7 Feb 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

38 (1) Ltr, Cheves to Wedemeyer, 17 Apr 45, sub: Opns of Chinese and American SOS's. 
OCMH. (?) T.tr Wedemeyer to Marshall, 13 Apr 45. Case 45, OPD 319.1, Sec I. 

39 See |Ch. Vllj above. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



349 



This decision troubled Somervell, who thought the estimates of what might 
be flown in to China far too comprehensive. So he called the matter to the 
attention of India-Burma's deputy theater commander, General Merrill, who 
had accompanied Wedemeyer to Washington. Merrill replied that India- 
Burma felt it should not question Wedemeyer's decisions once their implica- 
tions had been explained to him. Somervell said the answer puzzled him, 
and went on to add that he thought the air estimates were too large, and 
that if the road and pipeline projects were not continued at something near 
their original levels, then the projected campaign in China might suffer. 
Merrill replied there would be enough troops in India-Burma to maintain 
and operate the Stilwell Road and the four -inch pipeline. This did not sat- 
isfy Somervell: "You leave me with the gravest doubt that you will be able 
to support Wedemeyer's operations. Are you confident of your ability to do 
so?" Support of Wedemeyer depended on the ATC's doing as well as prom- 
ised, Merrill thought, and if the ATC did, with the road and the pipeline, he 
could do the job. 40 

With the SOS in China finding its operations so hampered by the short- 
age of transport facilities, and with tight limitations on the number of 
Americans who could be brought to China for SOS work, it was plain that 
SOS in China could not of its own resources improvise anything to aid 
Rashness. And India-Burma Theater, through Merrill, made it plain that 
cutting back the road and pipeline in accord with the decision to concentrate 
on building up the Hump left it to the ATC to support the drive to take a 
seaport. That prospect seemed dim indeed in early May. Apparently China 
Theater could proceed with equipping the thirty -six divisions. The perform- 
ance at Chihchiang showed that Chinese troops could stop anything short of 
a really major Japanese effort, but if China Theater was to advance beyond 
the planning stage and take the initiative, a major new development was 
needed. 

The Japanese Save RASHNESS 

In appraising Rashness for the JCS, the Joint War Plans Committee had 
ventured the opinion that by late summer or early fall of 1945 the Japanese 
might feel such pressure on Japan proper as to begin moving troops out of 
south China toward more vital areas in the north. This had been one of the 
suggested reasons for JCS approval of Rashness, so from the point of view 
of Washington, planning for Rashness had some of the aspects of a worth- 
while speculation on anticipated Japanese weakness. 

After the failure of the SHO Operation for a complex and powerful coun- 
teroffensive on the American drive into the western Pacific, 41 Imperial General 

40 Rad CRA 10316, Merrill to Sultan, info Wedemeyer, 3 Apr 45. Item 641 Bks 3 and 4 
ACW Personal File. 



See Ch. II, above. 



350 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Headquarters in Tokyo during December and January had to plan a troop 
deployment for anticipated American exploitation of success in the Philip- 
pines. Surveying the Asiatic and Pacific theaters, Imperial General Headquar- 
ters feared it had to counter Soviet and U.S. thrusts into north China by land 
and sea, respectively; U.S. amphibious attacks on islands near Japan, such as 
Okinawa; U.S. amphibious attacks on south China; and even amphibious 
assaults on Japan itself. There seems to have been no thought among the 
Japanese leadership of retiring to some citadel area on the mainland of Asia 
and there fighting it out. Japan was their home. They would die there in 
defense of what they held sacred. They did not contemplate fleeing from 
their remembered shrines and pine-clad hills to die on the Manchurian plains. 
So the Japanese staff shaped all their deployments to guard Japan, in the hope 
that at last the Americans might tire of the war. If they reinforced north 
China, it would be to hold staging areas from which Japan might be attacked 
and factories and mines which could still arm the Japanese soldier. 

Differences in point of view and responsibility produce very different out- 
looks, and Okamura's headquarters in China, China Expeditionary Forces, took 
a much less grave view of the situation during December and January, 1944- 
45. He and his staff wished to make a major effort to take Kweichow Prov- 
ince, whence roads branched to Kunming and Chungking, and to end the 
war in China. They were overruled. Higher authority in Tokyo believed 
that the Chinese saw victory inclining to the Allies, that they saw the end of 
the war approaching, and so Okamura's superiors did not think that even 
taking Kunming and Chungking would persuade the Generalissimo's gov- 
ernment to make a separate peace. Instead of driving into the interior of 
China, Okamura was ordered on 25 January to turn his attention to the sea- 
coast and to north China. These orders were an interim solution, and plan- 
ning was still in progress. 

Whatever the outcome of the planning might be, it would require troops, 
and Imperial General Headquarters set in train an ambitious mobilization that 
would strengthen the forces with which Wedemeyer would ultimately have 
to deal if he carried his campaigns to central China. To meet the feared inva- 
sion of Japan, Imperial General Headquarters activated sixteen coastal divisions 
in April, and eight fully mobile field divisions in May. To equip these 
forces, approximately one third of all the Japanese ammunition in Manchuria, 
about 30,000 tons, was sent to Japan. The Japanese thought this would sup- 
ply thirteen divisions for three months. With it went as much of railroad 
materiel, bridging materiel, foodstuffs, and antitank munitions as the strained 
railroads and ferries could transport. 

Okamura was to receive major reinforcements, and did in fact have his 
numerical strength increased 25 percent. Imperial General Headquarters wanted 
to secure air bases in China, maintain order in north China, defend southeast 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



351 



China, and prepare a reserve for the Manchurian front. So the Japanese set 
about increasing Okamura's force to 20 fully equipped divisions for opera- 
tional duty; 20 more lightly equipped divisions for occupation duty; 6 more 
divisions for what was called guard duty; 17 independent mixed brigades; 
and 50 battalions to guard the railways. This was no mere paper program; 
by April 1945 Okamura received 230,000 men. From them he obtained a 
net gain of 1 division, 11 independent mixed brigades, and 13 independent 
guard units. Save for 4,000 troops from Manchuria, and 12,500 reservists 
mobilized in China, these men came from Japan. Thanks to them, by sum- 
mer 1945 Okamura had 1,050,000 men south of the Great Wall, though 
their training, equipment, and supplies were not up to past standards. 

Manchuria was the area whose resources seem to have made possible the 
Japanese deployments of 1944 to meet the American advance through the 
Pacific and of 1945 to defend the homeland and north China. On the map 
Japanese-occupied Manchuria was an exposed salient jutting into Soviet-held 
territory. Salients are hard to defend and the Japanese did not intend to try 
to defend this one. They intended only to hold a line across its base. So 
elite divisions came out of Manchuria to fight in the Pacific, and with them 
came supplies, plus cadres to activate new divisions. In January 1943 the 
Japanese had 14 divisions in Manchuria. Two years later, 10 divisions plus 
50,000 men in smaller units had been shipped out. Only 7 had been assigned 
to replace them, leaving a total of 6 well-trained divisions and 5 inferior ones. 
Manchuria-wide mobilization began in February 1945. To fill the gap left 
by loss of the good units and to create an appearance of strength, 8 divisions 
(121st to 128th) were activated, whose cadres came from the 3d Cavalry Bri- 
gade and border garrison units. These were inferior units, to be regarded as 
part of a cover plan rather than as fighting strength. 

On 19 February 1945 the U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima, a volcanic 
outcropping midway between the Mariana Islands and Tokyo. Fighting was 
bitter, and at a pace which insured it would not be prolonged. By 8 March 
U.S. fighter aircraft were operating off Iwo, and an alarmed Imperial General 
Headquarters issued orders 15 March recalling the 4 best divisions left in Man- 
churia to the homeland. With them across the Korean straits came 3 new 
divisions and 6 tank brigades. 

The American landing on Okinawa 1 April was another grave blow to 
the Japanese, for its loss would give the Americans staging areas close to Japan 
itself. The beginning of operations on Okinawa coincided with the comple- 
tion of Imperial General Headquarters' studies of a deployment to meet the 
grave danger to Japan. 

The plan to defend Japan was called KETSU. It embraced operations in 
both Japan and Asia. To find the troops for KETSU, and to place the troops 
in Asia in position for their share in KETSU, the Japanese decided to shorten 



352 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



their lines in China and mass their troops, some around Hankow and Shang- 
hai in central China, and the rest in a great rectangle across north China, 
south Manchuria, and north Korea. The effects of this decision began to 
appear on 8 April in orders from Tokyo that sketched KETSU for the benefit 
of the field commands. At this same time, but coincidentally, a new pre- 
mier, Admiral Baron Kantaro Suzuki, took office. He and his cabinet repre- 
sented elements who wanted to make peace. 

On the 14th Imperial General Headquarters sent a warning order to Oka- 
mura that four of his best divisions were to be moved to central and north 
China. Tokyo had earlier intimated willingness to evacuate Hunan Province, 
the great area where stood the contested cities of Changsha, Heng-yang, and 
Chihchiang. For its part, China Expeditionary Army did not want to give up 
Canton, Hankow, or the rail line between them, so in accord with Tokyo's 
and its own views, it prepared to take its troops off the Hunan-Kwangsi 
railroad. This line ran through Heng-Yang, Kweilin, Liuchow, and Nan- 
ning, and a branch forked off to Kweiyang. These were the cities of the east 
China airfields. In order that north China might be reinforced, the Japanese 
were willing to yield them. On 20 May the Japanese began to withdraw 
from Ho-chih, their garrison farthest west on the branch line to Kweiyang. 
On the 26th they evacuated Nanning, and thus broke land communications 
with Indochina. Deployment for KETSU was under way. 42 

As they assembled for KETSU, Japanese were harassed by OSS teams 
operating behind their lines. The Japanese were spread very thin over China, 
in a deployment very like that of an army of occupation, and there were many 
opportunities for guerrilla action. The OSS had five teams on or near the 
east-west truck railroad from Hsian to the coast. Four more teams operated 
near the rail line from Nanning to Heng-yang. A third group harried the 
Japanese engaged in the Chihchiang operation, and the remainder were near 
the coast. These teams guided U.S. aircraft to profitable targets, gathered 
intelligence, and reported that they blew up Japanese trains, shot individual 
Japanese, attacked small parties of Japanese, blew up warehouses and supply 
dumps, and sought generally to distract and gather information on the Japa- 
nese. That they exercised any influence on the course of events in China is 
not apparent from the Japanese studies; however the effort was still on a very 
modest scale, and the OSS was steadily gathering and training fairly large 
guerrilla forces behind the Japanese lines. 43 

The cities the Japanese now were yielding had been the targets of Rashness 
Phase I. To accomplish that phase, all the Chinese had to do was to follow 

42 (1) Japanese Study 45, pp. 160, 166-80, 183-94, 190-91, Chart 11, p. 197, 226-27, 231, 
233-34. (2) Japanese Study 129, pp. 132, 133, 161, Chart 5, p. 81, 84, 82-86. (3) Ltr, Col 
Preston J. C. Murphy, FECOM Hist Sec, to Gen Ward, 18 Nov 52. OCMH. (4) Japanese 
Officers' comments on draft MS. 

43 OSS Weekly Opnl Rpts, AG (OSS) 322 Bk 1. TS Reg 06108-3-J, DRB AGO. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



353 



behind the Japanese. Any pressure they might apply would be all to the 
good. The implications of the Japanese withdrawal registered at once in 
Wedemeyer's headquarters, and a reaction was not delayed. 

The Drive to the Sea Moves Off Dead Center 

The War Department's announcement that ATC augmentation would not 
take place as rapidly as Wedemeyer had expected and the accumulating diffi- 
culties of supply and transport within China created a brief period, only a 
few days, when the drive to the sea hung on dead center. Then came the 
electrifying news that the Japanese were withdrawing. Wedemeyer appre- 
ciated the new situation, and wrote General Marshall in early June: "The 
recent Japanese withdrawals from the Nanning-Liuchow-Kweilin corridor, 
our occupation of Nanning and the anticipated capture of Liuchow and 
Kweilin has virtually eliminated Phase I of Carbonado [new code name for 
the offensive]. As a result a revision of our plans has been directed to per- 
mit the early occupation, seizure, and development of the Nanning-Liuchow- 
Kweilin area as a base for an assault during the last quarter of 1945 against 
the Canton-Hong Kong area." 44 

As part of the Chinese Combat Command organization project of Febru- 
ary 1945, the Central and Kwangsi Commands had been created opposite the 
area the Japanese were now evacuating. The Central Command included the 
Kweiyang area; the Chinese 94th Army from that command had distinguished 
itself in the Chihchiang campaign. The Kwangsi Command included that 
great province, and in it lay Ho-chih, Nanning, and Kweilin. The Central 
Command troops were under General Tang En-po's III Army Group Com- 
mand, assisted by Brig. Gen. Frederic W. Boye. General Tang's forces 
included the 26th, 29th, 20th, 13th, and 71st Armies, totaling ten divisions. 
The II Army Group Command, General Chang Fa-kwei, included the 46th, 
62d, 64th, and New 1st Armies, totaling eleven divisions. General Chang 
was assisted by Brig. Gen. Harwood C. Bowman. Of these twenty-one divi- 
sions, only those of the New 1st Army were Alpha or U.S. -sponsored divi- 
sions. However, Generals Chang and Tang had co-operated in carrying out 
a considerable reorganization of their forces. Facing them were the Japanese 
3d and 38th Divisions, and the 22d and 88th Independent Mixed Brigades. ^ 

The food and medical situation had improved since February. General 
Chang had consolidated what had been six armies into three, launched a 
training program, and begun a systematic rebuilding of his forces. 46 

44 Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, with Incl, 13 Jun 45, sub: Activities and Developments, CT, 
May 45. TS Reg 06105-M, DRB AGO. 

45 (1) Japanese Study 129, map facing p. 86. (2) History of Chinese Combat Command, 
p. 11. OCMH. 

46 History, II Army Group Command, CCC (Prov), Apr-Jun 45. OCMH. (Hereafter, His- 
tory, II Army Group Command.) 



354 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




General Tang En-Po, Commander, III Army Group, China (center), and Brig. 
Gen. Frederic W. Boye (waving), former Commanding General, Central Command, 
Chinese Combat Command, drive along the Nanking Road in Shanghai. (Photograph 
taken 7 September 1945.) 

The original mission given Chang's troops under Rashness had been that 
of diversionary attacks. Preparations to that end were being carried on, but 
the armies themselves were still weak. The only offensive activity was that 
of a so-called Commando Battalion, which during April and May raided the 
hundred miles of Japanese-held road from Nanning to Chen-nan-kuan (Nam 
Quan) on the Indochinese border. The Chinese were not thought capable 
of moving across the road in force. 

These Chinese "commandos" should not be confused with the rigidly 
trained, superbly equipped elite British units of the same name; rather they 
were Nationalist partisan detachments which had been given adequate food, 
training, and medical care, then assigned a mission within their capabilities. 
It was a long time since organized Chinese troops had shown the flag in 
that area; the Chinese civilians soon began bringing their surplus produce to 
the Chinese lines rather than the Japanese. 4 " 

In mid-May reports began to reach the Chinese that the Japanese were 

47 Bowman comments on draft MS. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



355 



contemplating withdrawal, and Chang began to redeploy so as to follow any 
evacuation. Over 19 and 20 May reports came that the Japanese were de- 
stroying the public utilities of Nanning. On 26 May the Chinese drove the 
small Japanese rear guard from Nanning. Bowman personally visited Nan- 
ning "to verify the capture," for the air forces had been skeptical. There 
were sixteen dead Japanese, and many Chinese casualties. There could be 
no further skepticism about the withdrawal. 48 

Theater headquarters at once began staff studies on how to exploit the 
Japanese move. Making a rapid advance to the Luichow Peninsula in order 
to gain access to the sea began to seem one possibility; with the U.S. forces 
now established in the Philippines, supplies could quickly be brought to the 
China coast from Manila. Wedemeyer requested the Generalissimo to order 
the local Chinese commanders to (1) keep close watch on all Japanese move- 
ments in the Canton-Hankow corridor, (2) keep pressure on the Japanese 
but avoid committing any large numbers of Chinese troops, (3) hold armies 
not in contact for reserves as the situation clarified, (4) continue to build up 
supplies for use by air and ground forces in forward areas, and (5) co- 
ordinate limited ground operations with U.S. air support. He wanted to 
avoid premature and large-scale commitment of forces that might be used in 
a drive for a seaport. That the Japanese would probably soon evacuate the 
Kweilin-Liuchow area offered help toward solution of the logistical problem 
of supporting the offensive, for supplies could be flown directly from India 
to east China and then distributed locally. 

General Wedemeyer's revision of Rashness, called Carbonado, was 
drawn up early in June. In preparing to take advantage of the Japanese con- 
cession of the objectives of what had been Phase I, the planners sought to 
change the existing plan as little as possible. The significant addition was 
giving a major role to the Kwangsi Command and Chang Fa-Kwei's troops. 
Where formerly these had been limited to diversionary attacks, now before 
Carbonado was launched they were to seize the small seaport of Fort 
Bayard on the Luichow Peninsula about 2 50 miles southwest of Canton. 
Fort Bayard would then be a forward supply base to sustain Carbonado. 

Carbonado itself now called for an attack on 1 September from the 
Kweilin-Liuchow area toward Canton, to take suitable forward concentration 
areas. From these the final assault would begin on 1 November. On 15 July 
there was to be a diversionary attack into French Indochina, to keep the Jap- 
anese too occupied for them to consider harassing the Kunming-Nanning 
line of communications. The air forces were to concentrate in the earlier 
phases on cutting Japanese communications, then switch to tactical support. 
The Philippine-based Far East Air Force would be asked to undertake stra- 
tegic bombing of Chinese targets. 

48 (1) History, II Army Group Command. (2) Bowman comments on draft MS. 



356 



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In Wedemeyer's opinion, the biggest barrier to carrying out Carbonado 
on schedule was the need to accumulate supplies in the forward area. Air 
transport would be relied on heavily. The fields around Liuchow were to be 
developed, together with one halfway between Liuchow and Canton, known 
as Tanchuk (Tan-chu). Supplies were to be flown direct from India-Burma 
to these fields, which were to be used for logistical support. Kweilin was 
to be reserved for combat. Roads to the forward area were to be repaired 
and their capacity increased. 49 These engineering projects would be a heavy 
burden on the Chinese SOS and governmental agencies. 

New Commanders for CARBONADO 

Execution of Carbonado would be the task of new commanders and 
staffs, both air and ground. The most significant immediate change was that 
in the command of the Fourteenth Air Force. In his messages to the War 
Department after word was received that augmentation of the Hump airlift 
would be postponed Wedemeyer had pointed out that deployment of the 
Tenth Air Force to China would also be delayed. Apparently, he thought 
that this by implication covered the question of Stratemeyer's going to 
China. But the War Department did not take it so. On 16 May Wede- 
meyer was told by Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, of AAF headquarters, that Chen- 
nault would be replaced in any event. A letter to Wedemeyer from General 
Hull of OPD suggested that there had been a basic misunderstanding when 
Wedemeyer and his party left Washington about the Hump airlift that was 
to be established. While Hull conceded that the War Department had not 
been able to meet the schedule of C-54 aircraft that Wedemeyer had pre- 
sented, he did not believe that there had been any failure to meet any com- 
mitment made during Wedemeyer's visit. Since redeployment would not 
permit the C-54's to come to India, the War Department had agreed that 
the AAF in China should set its requirements in terms of tonnage delivered, 
rather than in numbers of aircraft assigned to the Hump. Hull also re- 
marked that unless the Tenth Air Force could be supported in China a major 
part of it would have to be returned to the United States. Nothing was said 
about Stratemeyer, but since Hull believed the War Department was meet- 
ing all of its commitments to China Theater he may have felt that head- 
quarters should proceed with the reorganization Wedemeyer had presented 
in Washington and to which the commitments were related. 

These letters were exchanged against the backdrop of tremendous events 
elsewhere. On 12 April 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and was suceeded 
by the Vice President, Harry S. Truman. President Roosevelt had taken a 
keen personal interest in the conduct of American affairs in China, and had 

49 History of China Theater, Ch. IX, pp. 21-23. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



357 



kept many of the threads in his own hand. From 1942 to the fall of 1944, 
he had sent several special emissaries to China, and kept in touch with the 
Generalissimo and his entourage through many informal channels. Roose- 
velt had also been firm in his support of General Chennault in the disputes 
over strategy in China.' 

About three weeks after Roosevelt's death the war ended in Europe. The 
German chancellor, Adolf Hitler, died in the ruins of his shattered capital 
as the Russians took Berlin. The German armed forces surrendered at 
Reims on 7 May. The end of the fighting in Europe produced administra- 
tive and logistical problems as complex as those that followed on Pearl 
Harbor, though of a more agreeable nature. With plans and orders succeed- 
ing one another in rapid fashion, it is not strange that the AAF plans should 
also have been in a state of flux, so that on 22 May Stratemeyer's headquar- 
ters heard that C-54's were on their way to India after all. However, the 
letters from Washington with their indications, clear in retrospect, that the 
War Department believed reorganization of the China air force would pro- 
ceed and the news of the impending move to India of the C-54's did not 
bring any reaction from China Theater headquarters. 

Then came clear indication that higher authority in Washington wanted 
Stratemeyer to command the air force in China, for on 8 June General 
Marshall asked why the reorganization had not been carried through. 

A detailed explanation was prepared by General Wedemeyer and held 
for several days in his files in case Marshall should want a fuller explanation 
than the brief one Wedemeyer sent him. In it, Wedemeyer analyzed the 
Hump tonnage problem, then said his radios of May had not specifically 
referred to Stratemeyer because he still hoped to bring him to China. He 
had wanted to discuss this arrangement with Arnold. However, this had 
not been possible so he had decided to make Chennault Commanding Gen- 
eral, China Air Force, and had so advised General Hull. Wedemeyer's 
present relation to Chennault "rendered it difficult" summarily to relieve 
him, and replace him with Stratemeyer. He therefore had to keep as his air 
officer a man who did not have Marshall's or Arnold's confidence (and the 
text of the detailed explanation showed that Wedemeyer briefly contemplated 
saying he himself agreed with Marshall and Arnold). The explanation 
closed by saying that while it would be preferable to replace Chennault with 
Stratemeyer or someone else the impetus for that move had to come from 
Washington. 

A week later, when Arnold was in Manila, he summoned Stratemeyer to 
confer with him. At the conference, Arnold made it plain that he wanted 

50 (1) The Hopkins Papers in the Roosevelt Memorial Library, Hyde Park, N. Y., contain 
many interesting details o f the Pres ident's interventions in military matters in China. (2) 
Stilwell's Mission to China\Qn. IX. | 



358 



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The Generalissimo Honors General Chennault. The retiring commander of 
the Fourteenth Air Force is guest of honor at a banquet given by Chiang Kai-shek. Fac- 
ing forward, from left: Ambassador Hurley, the Generalissimo, General Chennault, Mr. 
Wing Shih-chih, and Mr. Ellis 0. Briggs. General Wedemeyer is in profile at extreme 
right. General Chennault is wearing the medal presented by Chiang Kai-shek. 



Stratemeyer to command in China, that Stratemeyer had been promoted to 
lieutenant general for that purpose. Returning to China, Stratemeyer 
brought with him a letter from Arnold that suggested that Chennault be 
soon retired from the Air Forces, that the Tenth Air Force be brought to 
China, and that the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces be put under Strate- 
meyer. In compliance Wedemeyer replied that he was setting up such a 
structure, with Chennault as Commanding General, Fourteenth Air Force. 
About two months later Chennault retired. Headquarters, Tenth Air Force, 
opened at Kunming 23 July. 51 

By delaying immediate compliance with Arnold's letter, Wedemeyer let 
Chennault complete eight full years of duty in China, five with the Chinese 
Air Force and three with the American. In appreciation of his efforts for 
China, the Generalissimo presented him with the Order of the White Sun 
and Blue Sky, China's highest honor. His own government, on Wede- 
meyer's recommendation, gave him a second Oak Leaf Cluster to the Dis- 

51 (1) The Army Air Forces in World War 77, V, 269-72. (2) Chennault, Way of a 
Fighter, pp. 345-52. (3) Wedemeyer's explanation is in Item 833, Bks 3 and 4, ACW Per- 
sonal File. (4) Ltr, Hull to Wedemeyer, 15 May 45. By some quirk of the riling system this 
is in AG 014, Civil Affairs, TS Reg 06108-D, DRB AGO. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



359 



tinguished Service Cross. In leaving China, Chennault felt "anger and 
disappointment" because he had not been able to participate in the final 
victory, a victory to which he and his airmen had contributed in great meas- 
ure with very small resources. If he could not complete his plans, in this he 
shared the frustration China inflicted on all the Americans in high command 
there, including both Stilwell and Wedemeyer. After the war a Japanese 
military historian concluded that until summer 1945 the Fourteenth Air 
Force had been the principal obstacle to Japanese operations in and troop 
movements from China." 

The conduct of ground operations was entrusted on 1 July to a newly 
activated Tactical Headquarters, and the former Rear Echelon at Kunming 
was scheduled for inactivation. The concept of a rear echelon headquarters 
had been criticized in the past on the ground that its activities duplicated 
those of Headquarters, SOS. 

As originally conceived in April and May 1945, Tactical Headquarters 
was to be a forward command post of the theater commander, essentially 
an extension of theater headquarters. Thus, when General Wedemeyer took 
the field he would operate from Tactical Headquarters. So the deputy the- 
ater commander, Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Weart, had been made ex officio 
commander of Tactical Headquarters with the mission of co-ordinating the 
tactical plan and administrative operations of the SOS, the Chinese Combat 
Command, the Chinese Training Command, and the air forces. By 1 July, 
when Weart's headquarters opened, the basic concept had changed and Tac- 
tical Headquarters had become the headquarters of the China Theater's forces 
in the field. Weart and his staff were seen by the China Theater staff as a 
separate headquarters receiving orders from Headquarters, China Theater, 
through command channels, rather than as a part of theater headquarters 
which had moved forward.^ 

The relationship between the Chinese and American headquarters staffs 
took a long step forward in July. As originally conceived, when Wedemeyer 
began his work, the relationship was like that in the Anglo-American Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff in that representatives of the two staffs met to form a 
conference, rather than an integrated staff. By 22 June the two staffs were 
ready to tell Wedemeyer: "It was concluded that the only desirable features 
of the [Combined] staff at the present time were the presentation of the 

^ 2 (1) Chennault, Way of a Fighter, p. 3 5 5. (2) Col. Susumu Nishiura, in Japanese Offi- 
cers' comments on draft MS. 

M Compare the statement of China Theater's chief of staff. Maj. Gen. Ray Maddocks, who 
"reviewed the remarks of the various chiefs of section and stated that, although the original con- 
cept was to have the Tactical Headquarters staff a projection of the Theater staff, the present plan 
of operations is to consider the tactical headquarters a separate entity under Theater." AC 33~\ 
Folder, Conferences, Meetings. Etc. L944-1945. has a "Summary of Discussions with Chiefs of 
Staff Sections, Theater Headquarters" on the several concepts of a tactical headquarters. 



360 



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intelligence and operational summaries." This was perhaps too modest an 
appraisal, for meetings had always been followed by decisions and the choice 
of an appropriate executive agency. However, the Combined Staff now sug- 
gested, through its secretariat, that the "ultimate goal" be "joint planning 
on all phases of military operations." To accomplish this, the creation of 
Chinese -American G-2, G-3, and G-4 staffs was suggested. The Combined 
Staff suggested as well a transitional period of several months in which sub- 
jects of common interest would be discussed. Wedemeyer agreed, and told 
the Generalissimo that when the staffs had completed the transitional period 
the new Chinese- American staff sections would be ready for joint planning 
of intelligence, operations, and logistics. The Generalissimo's approval was 
given 10 July 1945; an experiment of great potential importance was about 
to begin. 54 

Preparations To Open a Seaport 

In June 1945 active plans and preparations to open a seaport were under 
way in both India-Burma and China Theaters, and began to involve Admiral 
Nimitz' and General MacArthur's commands in the Pacific. The immediate 
goal on which attention was focused was taking Fort Bayard in August, but 
the training and construction programs in China for the thirty-six divisions, 
now further bolstered by the three returning from Burma, looked beyond 
Fort Bayard to carrying out Carbonado operation, of which Fort Bayard 
was the overture. Opening Fort Bayard would be the task of Chang 
Fa-Kwei's divisions, most of which were not U.S. -sponsored. The modest 
preparations of Chang's men began with a visit by General McClure, 7 June, 
to Bowman's Kwangsi Command, to warn them of their new task. 

General Bowman and his staff were complimented by McClure with the 
statement that they had done "more with less than any other group in 
China," a remark which reflected both their non -Alpha status and their suc- 
cess in getting food and medical attention for Chang's men. The scarcity 
period was now to end. Chinese weapons to complete the Tables of Equip- 
ment would be expedited. Three Alpha armies, 8th, 54th, and New 1st, 
would take their place with Chang's men. Adequate supplies were promised. 

Meanwhile, two of the Kwangsi Command armies, the 46th and 64th, 
followed the withdrawing Japanese. Moving north, the 46th found itself 
slowed by the old bogy of Chinese forces, lack of food. The Chinese SOS 
had not set up a line of communications, and the countryside had no food 

54 (1) Memo 630-7, with Incls, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 4 Jul 45. AG 337 Misc 
Folder, Meetings from 1944 to 30 Aug 45, Box BA 51513, KCRC. (2) Memo 99, Gen Chien 
Ta-chun, Chief of First Dept, Generalissimo's Hq, for Wedemeyer, 10 Jul 45. Item 110, Bk 8, 
ACW Corresp with Chinese. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



361 




Kwangsi Command Headquarters in Nanning. Brig. Gen. Harwood C. Bow- 
man, Commanding General, Kwangsi Command, is visited by General McClure, 7 June 
1945. From the left, unidentified Chinese officer, General McClure, General Ho Ying- 
chin, General Chang Fa-kwei, and General Bowman. 



to offer. The 46th had to halt, and in any event, since Liuchow, its goal, 
was in Tang En-po's area, General Ho wanted it to stop. Reluctantly Chang 
issued appropriate orders, but his 175th Division continued ahead, perhaps 
without his knowledge. To the south, the 64th Army occupied Nanning 
itself as the bulk of its Japanese garrison moved north. Kwangsi Command 
headquarters was established there. The 46th's difficulties showed what had 
to be done before Chang's men could take Fort Bayard; his forces had to be 
assembled well forward, and a ground line of communications had to be set 
up to feed them. Weather permitting, air supply could provide ammuni- 
tion, but it could not feed whole armies of Chinese, such as Carbonado 
would require. To provide a proper logistical base for the operation, of 
which Fort Bayard was the preliminary, preparations had to be made all the 
way from Calcutta to Kunming. 5 '' 

55 (1) History, II Army Group Command, pp. 11-16. (2) Bowman comments on draft 

MS. 



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By 19 June China Theater was ready to set forth the detailed concept of 
Fort Bayard operations. The fort was to be taken 1 August 1945 by non- 
U.S. -sponsored Chinese troops at no appreciable cost to the main effort of 
Carbonado. India-Burma and China Theaters were to support the project 
jointly, and develop it to the extent permitted by their resources, but hold 
construction to a minimum. Once Fort Bayard was taken, it was to be an 
auxiliary forward supply base, receiving supplies at a logistic cost far below 
that of Hump operations and distributing them to the Chinese troops in 
Carbonado. These supplies were to be principally packaged gas and oil, 
vehicles, and ammunition. From an airstrip supplies would be flown to the 
airfields at Kweilin, Liuchow, and Tanchuk. The scale of the supply opera- 
tion can be estimated from the provision that five Liberty ships a month 
were to bring supplies. China Theater was most enthusiastic over the proj- 
ect, believing that 25,000 tons a month laid down at Fort Bayard would 
permit delivery of 15,000 tons a month in the forward area, whereas the cur- 
rent line of communications required 60,000 tons a month at Calcutta to 
deliver 15,000 tons in east China. India-Burma's reception of the plan was 
affected by the belief that it could not find the troops for the project, that 
they would have to come from neighboring U.S. theaters in the Pacific. The 
planning problems were thus beginning to emerge, and the chain of con- 
ferences began. Nothing, of course, could be done without continued and 
effective operation of the line of communications from India, whose ade- 
quacy to support the projected operations in China had earlier been seriously 
questioned. 56 

In retrospect, India-Burma Theater headquarters believed its biggest op- 
erations problem in June and July 1945 was expanding theater facilities to 
support the incoming C-54's on which so much depended. Opening a 
Chinese port would mean that India-Burma could begin to close down, since 
the line of communications to China Theater would then run from the 
Philippines to the port. But for the present, receiving the new C-54's in- 
volved a number of expansions and improvements. Existing airfields had 
to be enlarged and new ones built. The fuel system serving the fields had 
to be enlarged to deliver the greater quantities of fuel and oil required. The 
turnaround time for Hump aircraft would have to be cut. More hands 
would be needed, which meant hiring more Indians. More supplies would 
have to be obtained to fill the cargo space in the new transports. This was 
not going to be easy, since India-Burma rarely had more than a ninety-day 
level, including supplies destined for China Theater. These added supplies 
would have to go on requisition in adequate quantity and of appropriate 
kind, be received in the ports (a further strain), and pass up to Assam over 



56 History of IBT, I, 6-8. OCMH. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



363 



railways now burdened with supplies for Mountbatten's forthcoming attack 
on Singapore. 

So India-Burma engineers went to work. New fields were begun at 
Tezgaon (Bengal), and Shamshernagar (Assam), and the B-29 fields near 
Calcutta were converted to ATC use. A field near Bhamo in Burma was 
being rushed to completion to supplement the Myitkyina field. Also revived 
was the project to restore the prewar line of communications from Rangoon 
north, this time to the Myingyan area of Burma, forty miles southwest of 
Mandalay. Here more fields were contemplated, in the belief that 15,000 
tons a month laid down at Rangoon might permit delivery of 8,000 tons 
of gas and oil to China. Not until the first week of August 1945 was the 
Myingyan project finally abandoned. At this same time construction else- 
where was proceeding steadily, some of it on the highest priority. Prelimi- 
nary action was under way to provide storage space — 1,000,000 square feet 
of closed and 7,000,000 of open— at Kharagpur, all to support the C-54's. 57 

Problems of the Ground Line of Communications 

Operation of the ground line of communications to China brought some 
difficulties and embarrassments to India-Burma Theater in summer 1945. 
The difficulties arose over the division of control of the Stilwell Road and 
pipelines as between India-Burma Theater and China Theater. The original 
agreement between the theaters provided that India-Burma would operate 
the pipeline, motor transport to the China border, and signal communica- 
tions to Kunming. In return, China Theater would support India-Burma 
personnel along the China part of the road, and maintain the road in China. 
After several months' trial, both parties were finding flaws in the arrange- 
ment. China Theater would not accept vehicles for delivery until India- 
Burma had overhauled them, yet the maintenance facilities it provided did 
not seem suitable to India-Burma personnel. India-Burma, for its part, had 
not made adequate provision to repair the trucks. India-Burma's Advance 
Section was dissatisfied with the rations given its drivers and mechanics as 
they arrived in China, and was bringing extra food to China by truck from 
Ledo. Maintenance of the Burma Road from Wanting to Kunming had 
been poor. In short, divided responsibility was not proving a solution. The 
question appeared to be whether the road should be put under one head- 
quarters from beginning to end even if that entailed one headquarters oper- 
ating in the area of another. 

The several staff sections of India-Burma Theater considered the matter 
at some length, for proposing to operate one commander's line of commu- 
nications in another commander's theater is a delicate matter. However, 



57 Ibid, pp. 69-76. 



364 



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Wedemeyer's problems and limited resources were well known. India- 
Burma's mission was to support China Theater, and it was reasonable to 
assume that China Theater had done its best. So India-Burma Theater rec- 
ommended that with a few minor exceptions it assume control of the road 
and pipeline operation all the way to Kunming. 

On 5 August the two theaters agreed in Kunming that India-Burma 
would have all control, responsibility, and administrative functions for con- 
structing, operating, maintaining, and guarding the line of communications 
from Ledo to the Kunming area. General Aurand, China Theater SOS 
commander, in turn agreed to conduct relations with the Chinese Govern- 
ment. China Theater would provide troops to guard installations in China 
and turn over to India-Burma all equipment and installations along the road, 
plus 10,000 Chinese laborers. To carry out its part of the task, Advance 
Section, SOS, India-Burma, was ordered to establish an Eastern Area Com- 
mand including the Wanting- Kunming area. 

The embarrassing aspects of road operation arose from the desire of the 
Government of India to make sure that the Stilwell Road was used only to 
support military operations. Of the five Chinese divisions in Burma, three 
returned to China by way of the Stilwell Road. The very large number of 
Chinese at Ramgarh also returned by road, in trucks under their control. 
Moreover, the Stilwell Road led from the bazaars of Assam to the shops of 
Kunming and Paoshan. These Chinese movements opened many opportuni- 
ties to bring goods to China. 

Shortly after the Stilwell Road opened the Government of India com- 
plained that Assam, which with the rest of India had inflationary problems, 
was being stripped of goods for Chinese account. These were leaving India 
without due regard to export formalities. So, between 7 March and 18 April, 
a combined investigation of the road, from Ledo to Kunming, was made by 
British Intelligence and the U.S. Criminal Investigation Department. 

Completing their survey in May, the investigators called the Stilwell 
Road a "Chinese Army trade route" and stated: 

No complete estimate can be made of the tonnage of merchandise seen by the investi- 
gators along the Road still less of the volume of merchandise transported along the Road 
in any given period. The godowns of Namti and the Myitkyina area, the well-stocked 
Chinese bazaar at Bhamo, the overflowing bazaar at Paoshan, the innumerable displays 
in shops and stalls along the Road, to say nothing of the extremely well-stocked shops 
and stalls of Kunming, contain in the aggregate literally hundreds of truckloads. 58 

After the report was received, correspondence and conferences between 
the Government of India and U.S. authorities followed, in which the com- 
munications from India assumed a steadily stronger tone. Since the convoys 
were guarded by Chinese soldiers who did not hesitate to use force to keep 

58 Quotation in History of IBT, I, 29. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



365 



U.S. troops from checking them, it may be assumed India-Burma Theater 
hoped to avoid clashes with the Chinese until such time as the troop move- 
ments to China ended, thus limiting the smuggling to openly commercial 
ventures with which Indian and Burmese authorities could cope without in- 
ternational complications. 59 

By 20 July the Government of India felt constrained to observe "that 
when they agreed that control of traffic on this road should remain entirely 
American, they assumed that American control would be effective. At pres- 
ent it clearly is not and the Government of India therefore request that steps 
should be taken to make it as effective as possible. . . ." On 9 August, at 
which date but one more Chinese military convoy was expected, a confer- 
ence at Ledo agreed to arrange an elaborate pass system for Stilwell Road 
traffic in Burma. 60 

The problems did not affect the performance of the line of communica- 
tions by air and ground, which delivered a considerable quantity of supplies 
to China in July 1945, over and above the very considerable illicit traffic in 
consumer goods and post exchange supplies: 

Tons 



Total 91,183 

ATG 71,043 

China National Aviation Corporation 2,639 

Stilwell Road a 5,900 

Pipeline 11,601 



" Net tons of goods carried, exclusive of vehicle deliveries. 

The Stilwell Road also brought to China 4,745 motor vehicles, plus 828 
trailers, and 53 troop units including 935 more vehicles. 61 

From late May 1945 until the end of the war, operation of the Ledo Road 
proceeded under monsoon conditions. There were a number of bridge fail- 
ures in the Mogaung area, just as a year before there had been failures in 
the Hukawng area. In both cases, only the impact of the monsoon floods 
could reveal whether bridge structures could withstand the strain, and what 
remedial steps were necessary. These interruptions, plus the physical diffi- 

59 On 19 May Wedemeyer told the Generalissimo of an incident involving Ledo Road Convoy 
120, of the Chinese 30th Division. The trucks, which were lend-lease equipment, were returning 
the 30th Division, with its lend-lease equipment, to China. When they were inspected on 14 
May by U.S. troops near Pao-shan the latter discovered and seized certain unauthorized material 
being carried in the trucks. The Chinese convoy personnel then surrounded them and took the 
goods back at gunpoint. As a result orders were issued that U.S. troops were not to inspect 
convoys. 

Wedemeyer pointed out to the Generalissimo that the sole purpose of the inspection was to 
be sure that all space was used for equipment that had been issued to the Chinese. To the extent 
that the Chinese used the space for commercial ventures, Hump tonnage would have to be used 
for replacement. Memo 578, Wedemeyer to Generalissimo, 19 May 45. Item 2, Bk 9, ACW 
Personal File. 

60 History of IBT, I, 31. 

61 Ibid., pp. 37, 74. 



366 



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culty of road operations during the pouring monsoon rains retarded deliv- 
eries. What the Ledo Road might have delivered to China during the dry 
season of 1945-1946, under better driving conditions and with more efficient 
loading and operation of the vehicles, is a matter of conjecture. 62 

Logistical Problems of Fort Bayard 

Tonnage entering China was now more than enough to support the drive 
to the coast, especially since Fort Bayard would be opened in August. The 
Beta plan had estimated that 62,000 tons would be needed for July 1945. 
The figure was later found to be about 14,000 tons too small because of un- 
derestimated costs of intra-China distribution. Thanks to the ATC, which 
overcame a 3,400-ton shortfall in pipeline deliveries by delivering 71,000 tons 
as against an anticipated 44,000, there would be enough. 63 

The logistical problems of Fort Bayard thus became the lesser one of 
being sure that the four Chinese divisions chosen to take the port had food 
and ammunition to carry them through the operation and the greater one of 
finding the troops and the supplies to put the port into operation, after the 
resources had been safely convoyed across the South China Sea from the 
Philippines. The difficulty was to find the resources without interfering 
with the initial invasion of Japan, now scheduled for 1 November 1945. 
Nimitz believed his forces could supply harbor defenses and naval escort for 
the operation, which he heartily endorsed, but he did not think that the 
landing craft so useful for putting ashore supplies in an underdeveloped port 
area could be found in his command. He envisaged resupply as being car- 
ried out by twenty landing ships (tank) but feared he could not spare them. 
As for MacArthur, in late June he promised "every practical assistance" and, 
turning the discussion at once to the highly practical, asked what air cover 
could be given to convoys as they entered Chinese waters. 

The replies of China Theater's neighbors made it necessary for the War 
Department to co-ordinate the operation, find resources, and give local com- 
manders assurance that they could release some of their resources. Shipping 
for the operation was located by 25 June — five Liberty ships, the first three 
of them to be loaded in the United States rather than in the Philippines. 
China Theater at once radioed to Army Service Forces its recommendations 
for the ships' cargoes, which principally comprised steel airstrip matting, 
sixty days' rations for 5,000 American troops, tentage, refueling equipment, 
gasoline, and ammunition. 

India-Burma Theater's contention that supplying troops for Fort Bayard 
would reduce its ability to support China via the existing line of communi- 

62 Leslie Anders, a History of the Ledo Road, pp. 303-06, 328-31. Hist Div, Corps 
of Engineers. 

63 Table, Estimated Tonnage into China, Plan Beta, p. 101. OCMH. 



PREPARING A DRIVE TO THE CHINA COAST 



367 



cations was discarded; IBT undertook to supply 3,147 men, to China's 506. 
IBT's units ranged from a 40-mm. antiaircraft battery to a veterinary food 
inspection battalion, and included most of the units needed to operate a 
small port and supply center. Navy personnel to operate amphibious trucks 
and landing craft (medium) had arrived in India by 10 July, for Hump lift 
to China. Some of the units were to fly to east China from Bhamo and 
Myitkyina. However, no headquarters and headquarters company, port bat- 
talion, could be spared, nor could several Quartermaster units. In this case, 
the War Department undertook to fly Headquarters and Headquarters Com- 
pany, 501st Port Battalion, from Europe to India. 

Giving air cover was complicated by the fact that it was 470 air miles 
from the east China fields to Fort Bayard. Seizure of an advance airstrip 
appeared essential, yet might reveal the plan. Taking the island of 
Wei-chou, near Fort Bayard, was considered but rejected. The solution 
adopted was to have the convoys arrive near the China coast at dusk, make 
the run-in during the hours of darkness, and thus be an estimated 110 miles 
closer to shore when day broke and China Theater had to give air cover. 
The cover missions would be flown from Nanning. It was hoped that 
Tanchuk airfield, halfway to the coast, would be taken by Chinese troops en 
route to Fort Bayard and the distance to the convoys thus shortened. 

Compared to operations in other theaters, the Fort Bayard operation was 
on a small scale, with five Liberty ships, improvised air cover from deep in 
China, and second-string Chinese troops. But it seemed essential if Wede- 
meyer's varsity was to succeed in its first big game. By late July plans and 
preparations for Fort Bayard were well advanced, awaiting only final co- 
ordination between Nimitz', MacArthur's, and Wedemeyer's theaters. 64 

To reach the stage where action was imminent, the project to open a 
seaport had had to survive many obstacles and setbacks. Having estimated 
his supply requirements, Wedemeyer had then presented the project to the 
Joint Chiefs. They had approved, and he had understood that the ATC ex- 
pansion necessary to support his drive to the sea would be forthcoming and 
that he would also be able to improve the air support for the plan by mov- 
ing the major part of the Tenth Air Force from India to China. Then 
further study had shown that the supply requirements had been seriously 
underestimated, while the end of the war in Europe seemed to preclude any 
immediate movement of transport aircraft to India to support China Theater. 
For a while the port project seemed to hang on dead center. Then the Jap- 
anese began to withdraw from the area of China that had been the objective 
of the first phase of the drive, and the transport situation greatly improved. 
Powerfully aided by these circumstances, the port project began moving 
steadily toward fulfillment as July passed into August 1945. 

64 (1) History of China Theater, Ch. II. (2) History of IBT, I, 3-15. 



CHAPTER XII 



The End of Wedemeyer's Experiment 

The Chinese Army, Summer 1943 

The time was approaching for Chinese troops to open a Chinese seaport. 
The Americans had made substantial progress in preparing Chinese divisions, 
in training key Chinese personnel, and in supplying food, ammunition, and 
medical care to the U.S. -supported Chinese divisions. The heart of Wede- 
meyer's program had been the 36-division plan, now 39 (36 plus 3 from 
Burma). Beyond that, for specific missions in the Carbonado operation, 
a few additional Chinese divisions, such as Chang Fa-kwei's, had been reor- 
ganized and given some added weapons from the Chinese supply. 

As of the first week in August, the training program for the 39 divisions, 
which contemplated two thirteen-week cycles, had been carried to the follow- 
ing point: 3 divisions had been trained to U.S. standards in India; 2 divisions 
had been trained and had received combat experience in Burma; 11 divisions 
had completed thirteen weeks' training in China; 22 divisions were one-half 
to three-quarters through their thirteen weeks' training; and 1 division had 
not begun training. 

As for the rearming of the 39 divisions, if one may take a slight liberty 
with chronology, by 23 August 1945 all of the 39 had enough ordnance to 
make them completely operable in combat with the principal exception of 
two items, one of which was 60-mm. mortars. 1 

The replacement problem was still unsolved. No machinery yet existed 
to give the Chinese divisions a steady flow of well-trained, physically fit re- 
placements. Gravely concerned by this weakness, which if uncorrected 
would cause the new reorganized Chinese divisions to waste away in combat 
and would deter the commanders of the rest of the Chinese Army from com- 
mitting it wholeheartedly to battle, Wedemeyer on 5 August sent to the 
Generalissimo a report that had been received in his headquarters: 

Herewith memorandum which I feel contains information that should reach you. It 



1 Ltr, Col Edward C. Reber to Public Relations Officer, Hq CCC, USFCT, 23 Aug 45. AG 
(CCC) 314.7, KCRC. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



369 



has been carefully verified and I believe contains much factual data that will assist you and 
myself in our many intricate problems. 

CONSCRIPTION 

Conscription comes to the Chinese peasant like famine or flood, only more regularly — 
every year twice— and claims more victims. Famine, flood, and drought compare with 
conscription like chicken pox with plague. Every ravaging disease has its stages. These 
are the stages of the most ravaging disease that sweeps China. 

FIRST STAGE 

Seasonal conscription occurs in spring and autumn. Sometimes aggravated by an 
"emergency call" whereby the government decrees that until a certain date, half a million 
men are to be conscripted in a certain area and for a certain purpose. The specially 
urgent purpose in the spring of 1945 was partly the need to get soldiers for the American- 
led training centers in China. 

The virus is spread over the Chinese country-side by the Pao-Chia system. One Chia 
consists of ten families. . . . Ten Chia form a Pao. . . In practice it seems that [not- 
withstanding the regulations] the violent forms of onset are the more frequent ones and 
that only office, influence, and money keep conscription out of your house. 

There is first the press gang. 

For example, you are working in the field looking after your rice . . . [there come] 
a number of uniformed men who tie your hands behind your back and take you with 
them. . . . Hoe and plough rust in the field, the wife runs to the magistrate to cry and 
beg for her husband, the children starve. 

This very rapid onset has many variations. Another way of being taken is arrest. If 
one man is wanted for conscription, the Hsienchang [county magistrate] arrests ten. 
Nine will be given a chance to buy their way out. The poorest stays in jail until the 
conscription officer takes him over. 

.... The conscription officers make their money in collaboration with the officials 
and through their press gangs. They extort big sums of money from conscripts which 
have been turned over to them by the officials and replace them with captives. 

Private dealers in conscripts have organized a trade. They are buying able-bodied men 
from starved families who need rice more urgently than sons, or, they buy them from the 
Hsienchangs who have a surplus or they pay a man who wants to sell himself because he 
finds life too difficult and doesn't know any better than to go into the Army. The deal- 
ers in conscription resell these men to conscription officers or Hsienchangs who have let 
off conscripts without being able to replace them through arrest or pressgang. The dealer 
might give $30,000 CN to the man who sells himself, or to the family or to the official. 
He sells the man for $50,000 CN to the Hsienchang or conscription official who had just 
let off a peasant's son for $100,000 CN. So everybody is happy except the conscript who 
soon will realize that he has been sold to something worse than death; to the slow ap- 
proach of death, each stage leading up to the next and most miserable one, and death is 
but the end of misery. 

THE SECOND STAGE 

Having been segregated and herded together the conscripts are driven to the training 
camps. They are marched from Shensi to Szechuan and from Szechuan to Yunnan. 
Over endless roads they walk, billetting in small hamlets, carrying their rice and rations 
and nothing else. Many of those who run away run off during the first few days. Later 



370 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Chinese Army Replacements. These soldiers await removal to a field hospital for 
rehabilitation before replacing troops on the battlefront. Kiveiyang, May 1943. 

they are too weak to run away. Those who are caught are cruelly beaten. They will be 
carried along with broken limbs and with wounds in maimed flesh in which infection 
turns quickly into blood poisoning and blood poisoning into death. 

As they march along they turn into skeletons; they develop signs of beriberi, their legs 
swell and their bellies protrude, their arms and thighs get thin. Scabies and ulcers turn 
their skin into a shabby cover of an emaciated body which has no other value than to 
turn rice into dung and to register the sharp pains of an existence as a conscript in the 
Chinese Army. 

In speaking of value we have to make a distinction between usefulness and market 
value. "Useful" is anything that can be used for a practical purpose, such as, a copy of 
Sun Yat-sen's "Three Principles" or an officer's walking cane. From this point of view 
most of the Chinese conscripts are entirely useless. Anything which is in demand has 
market value, however useless it may seem. . . . From this point of view the conscripts' 
bodies have a great value, based on a far less romantic demand than that which makes peo- 
ple buy ornamental knickknacks or tiger bones. A Chinese conscript's pay can be pock- 
eted and his rations can be sold. That makes him a valuable member of the Chinese 
Army and that is the basis of the demand for him. 

Because of this demand, his journey has no end. Being sick, he has to drag himself 
along. . . . Dysentery and typhoid are always with them. They carry cholera from place 
to place. Leaving behind them a wake of the sick and the dying, they are still fulfilling 
the most important function of a citizen of Free China! to be a source of income for offi- 
cials. During this second stage they are rapidly developing the full picture of the disease 
with which they are stricken. 

If somebody dies his body is left behind. His name on the list is carried along. As 
long as his death is not reported he continues to be a source of income, increased by the 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 371 




New Chinese Soldiers of the 205th Division, 3d Army Command, were trained 
under the American 39-division plan. Kweiyang, August 1945. 

fact that he has ceased to consume. His rice and his pay become a long-lasting token of 
memory in the pocket of his commanding officer. His family will have to forget him. 

The report went on to explain that those who arrived sick at the training 
centers, that is, too weak to stand, went to Chinese Army hospitals, which 
were described as similar to the German extermination camps at Buchenwald 
and in Poland. The U.S. Army had been obliged to leave hospital admin- 
istration in the training centers to the Chinese. Only those conscripts able 
to walk received the better rations. Conditions in the hospitals were not 
entirely due to Chinese poverty. The Chinese general officer in charge of a 
conscript area that included an appalling hospital gave a visitor the bland 
explanation that the director of the hospital, who was leaving it, would na- 
turally try to make the greatest possible profit from it. "The General had 
shown no embarrassment during the whole talk. He felt sure of his ground. 
These Chinese conscripts were purely a concern of the Chinese Central Gov- 
ernment, which he represented." 

The report closed: 

.... Everybody in China, including the Government, knows that the Chinese Army 
is too big. To cut the Chinese Army in half and to distribute equipment, rations and 
training facilities to the stronger half and to discharge the weaker half is a measure which 



372 TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 

Table 6— Division Training Status; 5 August 1945 



um 



New 1st Army 
30th Div..,. 
38th Div. 
50th Div ■ 



New (>\h Arm? 

14th Div ■ 

22d Div • 

207th Div 

5th Army 

45th Div .. 

96th Div 

200th Div .... 

2d Army 

9th Div , 

2d Res Div * . , 

76th Div* 

8th Army 

Hon 1st Div * 

103d Div * 

166th Div « 

13th Array 

4th Div 

54i h Div 

89th Div . 

S4th Array 

8th Div 

36th Div b 

198th Div » ... 



Wc«lei in 






12 



13 
13 
1 * 



U 



U 
ii 

10 



Utih 



53d Army 
I ion 2d Div , 
1 16th Div 

I30th Div *>, 



73d Army 
15th Div. 
77th Div. 
193d Div, 



74ih Army 
5 1st Div. , 
57th Div . , 
58th Div . . 



71 st Army 

87th Div * 

88th Div *. . - 

91st Div 







94th Army 
5th Div - . 
43d Div . . 
12 Ut Div 



18th Array 
llih Div. .... . 

iSth Div 

U8th Div * 



r ■ *. 

- ■ 



Week, in 

training 



* Ratngarh-Tnmed, vcierjm of Burma. 

* Vetera ni of Sal wren front. 

1 Alined when New 6th Army returned to China. 

* Auiitned when 8th Army returned to Kunming, 

* Detached, ftphiTPs at the from. 

So«™#/ m Swu* Report. return Conid, 22 July 45. Set. V. (2) Ltr. Capt Eugene D. Hill to CG CCC. It. Au» 45. *uV 
Brief Hi*tory of 2d Army. AG (CCC) 314.7. tfCftC 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



373 



had recommended itself for a long time to every military observer who came to this coun- 
try. But as soldiers are primarily a source of income for officials and a source of political 
power and influence for generals, which general will allow himself to be robbed of his 
army? And as generals rarely stand alone but are part of a clique tied up with other 
cliques nobody who is wise would try to force a general; and everybody who is not a fool 
would hesitate to hurt a clique. 

Armies are instruments to win wars. Does the Chinese Government not want to win 
the war? The answer is: Not unconditionally. Not at the price of entrusting Chinese 
concerns to the American Army. Not at the price of introducing democracy which might 
control the government and officials. Not at the price of collaborating with the Com- 
munists, with their exaggerated ideas of how to carry on a war of resistance, who wouldn't 
approve of the tactic of "waiting for victory." 2 

The Chinese Army as a whole was a long way from combat readiness. 
Sixteen of its divisions had had U.S. training through at least one thirteen- 
week cycle, had had better diet for some weeks, had all the weapons they 
needed to fight, while a beginning had been made in the systematic training 



of twenty-three more. | (Table 6 ) \ The rest of the Chinese Army was as it 
had been. But, the training program for whole divisions was only part of 
what Wedemeyer was attempting. A comprehensive school system was in 
operation by summer 1945, while an American style services of supply for 
the thirty-nine divisions was being organized. If these two latter projects 
were long continued, the graduates of the one and the activities and example 
of the other might be a beneficial leaven in the Chinese Army. 



The School System of the Chinese Training Center 

While the Chinese divisions of the Wedemeyer program were receiving 
unit training from personnel of the Chinese Combat Command, individual 
students plus, in some cases, cadres of special units, were being trained by 
the Chinese Training Center. 3 Operation of service schools, preparation and 
distribution of training literature, and technical assistance to the Chinese 
Combat Command were the three missions of the center, Brig. Gen. John 
W. Middleton, commanding. Discipline and administration of the Chinese 
students was the task of a Chinese liaison officer, attached to each school 
with the title of assistant commandant, and assisted by a suitable staff and 
detachment. 

Seven service schools and training centers were in operation, six of them 



2 Memo 678-7, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 5 Aug 45. Item 25, Bk 8, Wedemeyer Corresp 
with Chinese. 

3 Unless otherwise noted, this section is based on a letter and inclosures, Col Clinton 
I. McClure, CO, Chinese Training Center (Prov), to TAG, 1 Oct 45, sub: History, Chinese Train- 
ing Center (Prov), 1 Jul 45-1 Oct 45, final rpt. OCMH. 



374 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



around Kunming. 4 Of these, the Field Artillery Training Center, com- 
manded first by Col. Garrison B. Cloverdale and later by Col. Clinton I. 
McClure, was the largest. At peak activity, some 1,000 Americans were 
training about 10,000 Chinese, some as individual aspirants for key posts in 
artillery units, others as members of battalions undergoing arming and unit 
training. Emphasis was originally placed on the 75-mm. pack howitzer, but 
after the opening of the Burma Road and the graduation of units that had 
begun their work with the pack howitzer, emphasis shifted to the 105-mm. 
howitzer. From October 1944 to fall 1945 the center armed and trained 11 
75-mm. pack howitzer battalions and 3 truck-drawn 105-mm. battalions. In 
addition, 9 105-mm. battalions were partially armed from Chinese lend-lease 
stocks. 

In training the Chinese, the Americans had to combat their pupils' tend- 
ency to keep the bulk of their artillery safely in the rear, their habit of using 
pieces individually to save ammunition, and the physical weaknesses which 
malnutrition and lack of sanitation caused in the Chinese forces. Instruction 
began with duties of the cannoneer and progressed to battalion massed fires. 

Through the need to give students and training units weapons that would 
fire, the center had to develop shops that could repair existing Chinese ord- 
nance. Ultimately, these were capable of extensive and delicate repairs. 5 
All together, 157 105-mm. howitzers, delivered to China by truck or aircraft, 
were prepared for service. The 75-mm. pack howitzers which armed most of 
the center-trained battalions were thoroughly reconditioned before issue; a 
necessary step because of the rough treatment they received in being loaded 
and unloaded for air transport. 6 

The second class of the Command and General Staff School, Col. Elbert 
W. Martin, commanding, was in session when the China Theater was estab- 
lished in October 1944. Ninety-three students, drawn from the Y-Force, 
were taking the three- month course. The difficult problems of training aids, 
instructional material, and classroom techniques had been largely solved. 
The school's creation had been suggested by Brig. Gen. Theodore F. Wessels 
and Col. Norman McNeil to overcome the tendency of Chinese senior 
officers to resist the innovations American-trained junior officers were taking 
back to their units. 

4 With their dates of activation, or reactivation in the case of the Infantry Training Center, 
they were: 

Field Artillery Training Center, April 1943 
Command and General Staff School, May 1944 
Chinese Ordnance Training Center, October 1944 
Infantry Training Center, January 1945 
Interpreters' Pool, January 1945 
Heavy Mortar Training Center, February 1945 
Signal School, May 1945 

5 Of the type that the artilleryman knows as 5th echelon maintenance. 

6 Final Report of the Feld Artillery Training Center in China, 1943-1945. OCMH. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



375 



In the daily operation of the school, the problem of interpretation was a 
major one, and affected the amount of instruction students received. Since 
everything the American instructor said had to be translated to his students 
fully half of every hour was lost. Only continuing rehearsal and practice 
could ensure that instructor and interpreter worked as a team. The problem 
of relating instruction to the everyday workings of the Chinese staff system, 
then largely unknown to the Americans, was met by a systematic study of 
their procedures/ 

When summer 1945 ended, 463 students had graduated from the school 
under the sponsorship of China Theater. In addition, classes of the Chinese 
Army War College received fifteen-day courses in American weapons and 
staff procedures. General Ho Ying-chin, supreme commander of the Alpha 
divisions, sent about 130 members of his staff for a series of lectures, begin- 
ning 22 May, on staff organization, duties of the chief of staff and the several 
staff sections, and the co-ordination of their activities. While this group of 
key officers was in attendance, the staff and faculty of the school were pre- 
paring a comprehensive plan for the reorganization of Ho's staff on lines the 
Americans thought more apt to be successful than the existing blend of 
Chinese, Japanese, and German practices. 

An Infantry Training Center had been established in April 1943, then de- 
activated so that its plant might be used by the Command and General Staff 
School. In January 1945 it was reactivated under Col. Mose Kent, to train 
battalion and regimental commanders. Beginning initially with 18 Amer- 
icans and a battalion of Chinese school troops, Kent saw the center grow 
until it had a staff of 233 and had graduated, by late summer, 288 students. 

In preparing for the arrival of the first class in April 1945 the staff and 
faculty concluded that existing training literature was inadequate, and began 
an ambitious program of providing a manual for each of the infantry regi- 
ment's major components, plus seven more or general military topics. The 
principal course of the school covered three major areas: infantry weapons, 
military subjects of a technical nature useful to infantry such as demolitions, 
and, lastly, tactical training of small infantry units. 8 

The Heavy Mortar Training Center, Lt. Col. Albert R. Volkmuth, com- 
mandant, received its first students at Na-chi, Szechwan, on 2 April 1945. 

" That the Chinese staff system was largely unknown in fall 1944 may seem incredible, yet the 
language barrier alone would make it hard for an American officer to master the workings of a 
Chinese administrative system. To teach staff officers, it was not enough to know that personnel 
matters, for example, were the concern of certain sections of the Chinese staff. Forms, doctrines, 
filing systems, responsibilities, or their Chinese equivalents, would all have to be identified with 
precision and fitted into a system with accuracy. Studies based on such researches would have to 
be reproduced and circulated. The Americans under Stilwell began with the Chinese infantry 
regiment tables of organization and equipment; not until June 1944 were the problems of the 
higher staffs approached. 

8 Final Report, Hq. Infantry Training Center. Chinese Training Center (Prov), 1 Sep 45, 
OCMH. 



376 



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Demolitions Class on a Bridge. Men of the Chinese 14th Division show members 
of an officer candidate class how to destroy a bridge with properly placed demolitions. 



Its mission was to retrain Chinese regiments as 4.2-inch mortar units. By 
late summer two regiments had attended the center, the latter being able to 
complete only one month of its unit training. The center's basic method 
was first to train the regimental cadre, then receive the rest of the personnel, 
fit them into their places, and train the whole unit. 

In its daily course, the center met problems illustrative of the difficulties 
in teaching modern warfare to men from the simplest and most isolated of 
rural backgrounds. Some students had to be shown which way to turn a nut 
in order to tighten it. Some did not know how to use pliers or how to un- 
fasten metal snaps. Others could not count from one to ten. On the other 
hand, the Chinese impressed the Americans as enthusiastic, curious, "ex- 
tremely cooperative and worked exceedingly hard most of the time." Since 
the students wanted to learn, progress could be made by various expedients. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



377 



Thus, the men who found it hard to count were not asked to add or sub- 
tract, as they would have been had they been given fire commands of "Right 
(so much)," or "Left (so much); instead, they were given the complete 
sight setting for every change to right or left. 9 

To provide radio operators for the thirty-nine divisions, a Signal School, 
under Col. Willis R. Lansford, began operations 8 June 1945. By September 
it was ready to turn out 150 competent operators every month and had ac- 
tually graduated 281. The school was organized by Colonel Lansford under 
conditions of great haste and difficulty. His 600 students were all at hand 
waiting instruction, while the thirty-nine divisions needed a supply of radio 
operators in time for the offensive against Canton. Housing was a problem, 
as it was with all the schools, but signal equipment was a major concern. 
The school had a low priority, signal equipment was scarce in China, and 
what did arrive at the school was often damaged in transit. Lansford and 
his men asked help of every American organization that might have equip- 
ment to give. Salvaged parts and assemblies were extensively used. 

Many precautions ensured an acceptable student body. One of the newly 
organized student divisions 10 supplied students; almost every member of the 
division had the equivalent of a high school education plus some training in 
English. From this group 840 were selected by means of the standard Signal 
Corps aptitude test, its requirements slightly eased. From this group, 632 
were found suitable. When it appeared that a 20 percent mortality through 
failure was probable a compensating number of students was added to the 
waiting list. 11 

The Chinese Ordnance Training Center, organized by Col. Kennedy Has- 
senzahl, trained ordnance maintenance detachments for the thirty-nine divi- 
sions, plus twelve ordnance weapons maintenance companies for more diffi- 
cult repairs; trained arsenal instructors; and, lastly, set up a permanent ord- 
nance replacement training center. Courses were given in the repair of small 
arms, optical instruments, artillery, and vehicles. The Chinese Training 
Center hoped this portion of the training program would show the Chinese 
how they themselves could create their own ordnance schools to service 
weapons of their own manufacture. When summer ended, the Ordnance 
Training Center had trained and fitted out twenty divisional maintenance de- 
tachments and one ordnance weapons maintenance company. 

An Interpreters' Pool, activated 14 January 1945, tried to meet the need 
for interpreters, a need that grew with every expansion of the training pro- 
gram. Its members were graduates of the Chinese Government Interpreters' 

9 Final Report, Hq, Heavy Mortar Training Center, Chinese Training Center, 5 Oct 45. 
OCMH. 

10 See |p. 249] above. 

11 Final Report, Signal School, Chinese Training Center, 8 Sep 45. OCMH. 



378 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



School, and had honorary rank in the Chinese Army. Most had a working 
knowledge of English; all needed some background in military matters. In 
the course of their four weeks at the pool they were taught military termi- 
nology, translation, techniques of interpretation, general military subjects, 
physical training, and infantry drill. Eight classes, totaling 1,777, were 
graduated. 

Helping the Chinese SOS 

As noted before, 12 the first American attempts to assist the Chinese in set- 
ting up an SOS to support the thirty-nine divisions involved placing General 
Cheves in command, with the rank of lieutenant general in the Chinese 
Army, while another American, Col. Raymond R. Tourtillot, became chief of 
staff. Then Maj. Gen. Henry S. Aurand took over the China Theater SOS 
on 25 May. Aurand inherited Cheves's command status, but began to ques- 
tion its feasibility. 13 

As summer 1945 began, there were Americans present at many levels in 
the Chinese SOS. About 300 of them were at its headquarters. Each Chi- 
nese area command had as liaison officer the deputy commander of the cor- 
responding American SOS command. In the field, 231 Americans manned a 
Chinese driver training school, and another 120 or so worked with various 
Chinese service elements. 14 

The structures of the Chinese SOS and American SOS were arranged on 
parallel lines, and in turn were fitted to the Chinese Combat Command. 
Thus, the American SOS Base Section 1 was divided into Districts A, B, and 
C, which in turn corresponded with Chinese area commands. The Chinese 
1st Area plus District B of Base Section 1 supported the Southern Command 
of CCC; the Chinese 2d Area plus Base Section 2 supported the Kwangsi 
Command, and so on. In all, the Chinese had six numbered areas and one 
1st Independent Branch. These areas in turn covered that section of China 
comprised in the Chinese Combat Command. 1 ' 

At Chinese SOS headquarters, the distribution of the Americans suggests 
their estimate of the most pressing Chinese problems. Of the 300-odd pres- 
ent, 147 officers and enlisted men were in the Food Department, 84 in the 
Quartermaster, and the rest divided among Ordnance, Medical, Transporta- 
tion and Signal, and Staff Departments. 16 The last, rather oddly named de- 
partment, took its title from its mission of advising the Chinese on staff pro- 
cedures. 

1 2 See p. 240. above. 

15 (1) GO 40, Hq USFCT, 1945. (2) Chinese Services of Supply, in Qrtrly Hist, 
SOS USFCT, Jul to Sep 45, 58. 

14 Rosters and Chart in Tab H of Hist cited n. 13(2 ) . 
n Chart cited n. 14. 

16 Rosters cited n. 14. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



379 




Maj. Gen. Henry S. Aurand, Commanding General, U.S. Services of Supply, China 
Theater, arriving at Chihchiang in June 1945 for an inspection tour, is met by officials 
of the Chinese Services of Supply. From the left, General Pai Yun-shung, General Chang, 
General Aurand, and General Cheng. 

As its major activity, the Food Department sought and found some 
1,400,000 bags of rice, plus an appropriate amount of salt, for the Chinese 
troops in Carbonado. Quantities of rice had to be purchased in and trans- 
ported from other provinces, after sacks for the movement had been procured 
by the Americans. The needs of the troops were estimated in tons, feeding 
stations were established, and SOS area commanders were told to issue rice 
through them to the troops as they moved east to concentration areas for 
Carbonado. Another section of the Food Department co-ordinated the 
vegetable purchases of the Ration Purchasing Commissions with their dis- 
tribution through the local Chinese supply depots. Looking toward the day 
of battle, another section within the department helped the Chinese to find 
suppliers of processed meat and dehydrated vegetable rations. The goal was 
a daily production capacity of 200,000 of each. By August, the one existing 
factory, a military establishment in Chungking, was preparing to produce 
50,000 rations a day; plans had been drawn for two other factories with a 



380 



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combined production of 50,000; and plans had been prepared for a variety of 
processing plants. The problem of animal forage was attacked from several 
angles, for example, by flying in six hay balers from India. 

The Medical Department began work on the reorganization and redeploy- 
ment of the Chinese hospitals supporting Carbonado. The department's 
head, Col. Harry G. Johnson, also served as Surgeon of the Chinese SOS. 
In his dual capacity, Colonel Johnson sought to improve the professional 
quality of Chinese medical services by providing six-week refresner courses 
for officers of the Chinese field hospitals, by printing tables of equipment for 
medical units, by building up stockpiles in medical depots, and by establish- 
ing reserves in the forward areas. The department also tried to end the Chi- 
nese practice of establishing hospitals in abandoned unsanitary temples by 
drawing plans for temporary hospital buildings. By August, funds to build 
some of these had been obtained. To provide for animal transport, a sep- 
arate Veterinary Service was organized at General Ho's Supreme Headquar- 
ters, and was beginning to function. 

The Ordnance Department reported that its chief accomplishment was the 
movement, in the face of grave transport problems, of 400 tons of Chinese 
ammunition to Nanning. After trying every other recourse, the men found 
they had to airlift the 400 tons. While working on this problem, they found 
that American ammunition was stored in fairly large quantities in Chinese 
depots in western Yunnan but because of the transport problem could not 
be moved to the front. The Transportation and Signal Department operated 
a Chinese driver training school which trained 2,000 drivers and 200 mechan- 
ics. Working with General Ho's Supreme Headquarters, the American SOS 
and various Chinese SOS agencies, the department arranged the movement 
of some 130,000 Chinese troops and 6,000 tons of cargo by truck, boat, and 
aircraft. It also established a signal net linking Kunming, Nanning, Kwei- 
yang, Chihkiang, and Liuchow, some of it with equipment borrowed from 
the Chinese. Looking toward the future, the Quartermaster Department 
contracted for procurement of 540,000 winter uniforms, a major feat consider- 
ing the handicraft nature of the Chinese economy. 17 

Thus, in the summer of 1945, 39 Chinese divisions were undergoing sys- 
tematic training and rearming, service schools were instructing Chinese 
infantry, artillery, staff officers, and communications specialists, and some 
600 Americans were beginning to create a Chinese SOS capable of support- 
ing 39 modern divisions in combat. The effort was comprehensive, but it 
was just beginning to gather momentum. If the Chinese Government were 
to command the services of 39 first-rate battleworthy divisions, and be able 
to support them in battle for weeks on end, then time to complete the work 
in hand was needed. A considerable measure of Chinese co-operation and 

17 Chinese Services of Supply cite c] n. 13(2).| 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



381 



interest was now being given. Adequate American resources were at hand 
or in sight. If Japan fought on long enough, and well enough, that, para- 
doxically, might be the salvation of the Generalissimo's government. 

The Communist Problem Emerges Again 

Theater concern with the Communist issue in summer 1945 was linked 
with at least three antecedents — a desire to expand the CCC liaison system 
to Chinese units north of the Yellow River for operations against the Japa- 
nese in that area; dissatisfaction with the work of the American Observer 
Group in Yenan, the Communist headquarters; and the three-power Potsdam 
Conference of 17 July 1945. Expansion of the liaison system was related to 
Wedemeyer's continuing effort to persuade the Chinese to build an effective 
Army over and above the U.S.-sponsored divisions. On 8 May he told the 
Generalissimo that study had convinced him there were two deterrents to effec- 
tive military effort in China: (1) dissipation of resources, and (2) piecemeal 
and premature commitment of troops. Wedemeyer believed the Chinese 
had originally had 327 divisions of which only the 5 of the Chinese Army in 
India were effective troops. There had been some response to his repeated 
pleas for a smaller Army; the Minister of War told him that 35 divisions 
had been inactivated. That left 253 divisions, not counting the 39 divisions 
in Alpha, to be equipped and trained. Wedemeyer thought 45 would be 
ample for local security, over and above the U.S.-sponsored ones, and he 
suggested the Chinese might equip them from their own stocks. The re- 
maining 208 divisions should be inactivated. 18 

A month later he reported to the Generalissimo that though the latter 
had ordered inactivation of divisions as a result of Wedemeyer's recommen- 
dations, the orders were being ignored. For example, Wedemeyer wrote, 
two armies (6 divisions) that the Ministry of War had reported as inacti- 
vated were still operating. Indeed, between 15 and 31 May the Chinese had 
added one army. 19 

Then China Theater headquarters received data from the U.S. War Pro- 
duction Mission which revealed that the capacities of the Chinese economy 
had been seriously underestimated. On the basis of the mission's conclu- 
sions, the Chinese could from their own current stocks and 1945 production 
equip and maintain 80 divisions. Wedemeyer accepted this view and sug- 
gested adding 40 U.S.-sponsored divisions for a total of 120. 20 

Operational control of 120 Chinese divisions, some of which would prob- 

18 Memo 560, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 8 May 45. Item 39, Bk 9, Wedemeyer Corresp 
with Chinese. ' 

19 (1) Memo 598, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 4 Jun 45. Item 125, Bk 8, Wedemeyer 
Corresp with Chinese. (2) For the Chinese Order of Battle at the end of the war, I see Table 7. I 

20 Memo 609, Wedemeyer for Generalissimo, 11 Jun 45, sub: Chinese War Production. Bk 
8, Wedemeyer Corresp with Chinese. 



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Table 7 — Chinese Order of Battle: 31 August 1945 

T . Number of c . , 

Location i- • • strength 

c j lvlslons 5 

Total 290 2,700,000 

Supreme Headquarters (Ho Ying-chin) 70 790,000 

I War Area (Hsian) a 36 280,000 

II War Area (Shansi) 27 180,000 

III War Area (Chekiang-Fukien) 21 220,000 

V War Area (Northwest of Hankow) 10 90,000 

VI War Area (I-chang Gorge area) 16 200,000 

National Military Council (Szechwan) 26 220,000 

VII War Area (Canton-Hong Kong) 7 90,000 

VIII War Area (West Shensi, and west of Hsian) 24 200,000 

IX War Area (Hsueh Yueh) 21 160,000 

X War Area (Anhwei-Kiangsu) 14 130,000 

XI War Area (Shantung) 6 55,000 

XII War Area (Chahar) 12 85,000 

a Twelve of these divisions were in a position to blockade the Chinese Communists. 

Source: Item 3, Tab B, Bk 6, Vol I, Wedemeyer Black Book, DRB AGO. The estimate of 12 divisions block- 
ading the Communists comes from TPS-1 1, G-4, USFCT. TS Reg 06106-lr. DRB AGO. 

ably operate in north China, raised issues of command. For himself, Wede- 
meyer had no desire to be field commander in China. He was concerned 
with some points he thought Ambassador Hurley might have overlooked in 
suggesting such command status, among them that command of Chinese 
troops involved power to promote, demote, punish, reward, transfer, and 
assign senior Chinese officers. And, appointment of an American to com- 
mand would mean the United States would be credited with political mo- 
tives if such an officer followed the course, inevitable for logistic and military 
reasons alike, of giving the greater bulk of U.S. arms to the Nationalist 
divisions. Such an embarrassment, Wedemeyer thought, should be avoided. 
His views prevailed. 21 

In mid-June, Marshall offered Wedemeyer the services of some of the 
returning American generals who had distinguished themselves in Europe, 
together with their key staff officers. At first, though he thought he had 
•room for one commander, Wedemeyer hesitated, for he feared that officers 
accustomed to the precise discipline and logistic support of European com- 
bat would find it hard to adjust to conditions in China. Then came the 
realization in China Theater that several officers with their staffs would be 
a very welcome addition to the 120-division plan, and so the first of them, 
Lt. Gen. William H. Simpson, was invited to China to meet the 
Generalissimo. 

21 (1) Rad CFB 38387, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 31 May 45. Item 787, Bks 3 and 4, ACW 
Personal File. (2) In 1954 Hurley recalled that the technical points involved in Stilwell's com- 
mand crisis had been his daily concern only a few months before and that he had not forgotten 
them. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



383 



Currently, Wedemeyer had two headquarters in China, his own in Chung- 
king, and a tactical headquarters to co-ordinate operations south of the 
Yangtze in the three provinces — Yunnan, Kwangsi, and Kweichow — where 
U.S. activities centered. One of the two officers returning from Europe, 
General Simpson, would take command of Tactical Headquarters. The 
other, Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, would command a new Chinese Combat 
Command (North), leaving McClure with what would become the Chinese 
Combat Command (South). The dividing line would be the Yangtze. 
Simpson and the Generalissimo both endorsed this concept. 22 

Setting up a Chinese Combat Command north of the Yangtze brought 
two problems with it. One was purely administrative, that of finding U.S. 
liaison personnel for the 80 divisions. According to the practice in the 39 
divisions, teams were to be sent to each division, army, and group army 
headquarters, totaling 1,461 officers and 2,429 enlisted men. Truscott would 
be in operational control of the Chinese I, II, VIII, X, XI, and XII War 
Areas, when these were activated. 23 

The second problem, that of the Chinese Communists, was major and 
dramatic, for their territory lay north of the Yangtze. If the new divisions 
were to begin fighting them instead of the Japanese the whole scheme would 
be endangered, while the larger consequences were unpredictable but ob- 
viously of the greatest importance. So Wedemeyer sought to take appro- 
priate action well in advance. The solution he recommended to Nationalists 
and Communists alike was attachment of liaison teams to both sides, to pro- 
vide him with factual data on any incident. The background to this sug- 
gestion was Wedemeyer's belief that the Soviet Union, the British 
Commonwealth, and the United States should take strong measures to bring 
the two sides together. Asked by Marshall for his opinions on the eve of 
the Potsdam Conference, Wedemeyer replied: 

If Uncle Sugar, Russia, and Britain united strongly in their endeavor to bring about 
coalition of these two political parties in China by coercing both sides to make realistic 
concessions, serious post-war disturbance may be averted and timely effective military em- 
ployment of all Chinese may be obtained against the Japanese. I use the term coerce 
advisedly because it is my conviction that continued appeals to both sides couched in 
polite diplomatic terms will not accomplish unification. There must be teeth in Big 
Three approach. 2-1 



22 Rad WAR 17951, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 16 Jun 45; Rad CFB 39790, Maddocks to Mar- 
shall, 21 Jun 45; Rad CFB 1792, Wedemeyer to Marshall. 27 Jul 45. Items 850, 868, 991, Bks 
3 and 4, ACW Personal File. 

23 Memo 659-3, Brig Gen Ray Maddocks for Generalissimo, 2 5 Jul 45. Bk 8, Wedemeyer 
Corresp with Chinese. 

24 (1) Rad CFB 526, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 9 Jul 45. Item 924, ACW Personal File. (2) 
Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act 
and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee of the Judiciary, United States Senate, 82d 
Congress. First Session on Institute of Pacific Relations. Part 3, p. 797. 



384 



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The scheme for liaison teams to prevent Communist-Nationalist clashes 
was presented to the Generalissimo 30 July. He approved it, after suggest- 
ing that the Communist leader, Mao Tse-tung, be addressed as Mister rather 
than by his Communist title, Chairman. 2 '' 

The avenue through which the proposal was made to the Chinese Com- 
munists was the American Army Observer Group at Yenan. The perform- 
ance of this body had been a disappointment to Wedemeyer, who still felt, 
after the group had been almost a year in operation, that he acted in a vac- 
uum as far as military intelligence on north China was concerned. One 
reason may have been that some of the group's personnel were preoccupied 
with political intelligence of the Chinese Communists, to the neglect of the 
military picture in north China. Another may have been that the Chinese 
Communists were unable to determine from the Americans' questions what 
was desired in the way of military intelligence. When the American order 
of battle expert was sent to Yenan, in September 1944, he found that he had 
to give his American colleagues a two months' training course to enable 
them to ask proper questions. In addition, Chinese Communist communi- 
cations in north China were simple and overloaded, so that messages trickled 
into Yenan rather slowly. Last of all, and inevitably, the relations of the 
Americans in Yenan with the Chinese there fluctuated with the course of 
unification talks between Communists and Nationalists which Ambassador 
Hurley was conducting. The Communists were actively co-operative or 
merely polite as they were pleased or displeased with the progress of the 
negotiations. To them, military information was probably another bargain- 
ing tool, and in the Oriental fashion they proposed to use every bargaining 
asset they had. 26 

General Wedemeyer had also come to some conclusions about the quality 
of the advice and information current on the Chinese Communists. The 
political advisers who had been assigned to StilwelPs staff, then to his, and 
finally to Ambassador Hurley's, seemed to him to be primarily expert in 
Chinese culture, history, and language. He was not sure that this qualified 
them to speak with authority on political tendencies within the Chinese 
Communist Party, on the relationship of the several Communist parties to 
each other, and on other questions that might well affect the course of U.S. 
policy in China. So he sought for and obtained from G-2 in Washington 
the services of an expert on Soviet Communism and the Soviet Union, Col. 
Ivan D. Yeaton, to take command of the American Observer Group in 
Yenan. 27 



25 Min, Mtg 68, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, 30 Jul 45. Bk 1, Generalissimo Minutes. 

26 Capt. Robert L. Bodell, History of Dixie Mission. OCMH. 

27 Interv with Col Yeaton, 3 Mar 52. Yeaton had been Chief, East European Section, G-2. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



385 



Yeaton presented Wedemeyer's letter to Mao about 30 July. In it Wede- 
meyer proposed that two American officers and five enlisted men, with a 
radio, be sent to each Nationalist and Communist division, in contact with 
or close to their Chinese opposites. These radio teams would render daily 
reports on unit movements down to and including companies. Wedemeyer 
pointed out here that there had been many conflicting reports of clashes be- 
tween the Nationalists and Communists. Such a scheme would permit him 
to have a factual nonpartisan account to present to the United States. He 
told Mao Tse-tung that the Generalissimo had agreed, and urged Mao to do 
likewise, as a step toward averting civil war and achieving a united effort 
against Japan. But the march of events soon overtook this interesting 
suggestion. 28 

The progress of events also overtook what might have been a difficult 
situation for Wedemeyer, the use of American lend-lease arms by Chinese 
Nationalists to fight the Communists during hostilities against Japan. From 
time to time the Communists complained of such action by the Nationalists. 
Before late summer 1944, their complaints were almost certainly pure in- 
vention, intended to forestall any such diversion of lend-lease. But by late 
summer 1944, Navy Group, China, benefiting by the increased flow of ton- 
nage over the Hump, began to receive several hundred tons a month of 
Hump tonnage. As noted above, Navy Group, China, worked closely with 
General Tai Li's secret police, and Wedemeyer believed they had issued sup- 
plies without accounting for them. 

In June 1945 the Chinese Communists again complained about misuse 
of lend-lease by the Nationalist forces. Ambassador Hurley thought that 
the Communists were merely trying to stir up civil war. However, G-5 
was concerned about the problem, and Wedemeyer took the complaints seri- 
ously enough to investigate the possibility that Navy Group, China, had 
joined in the emerging Chinese civil war. Wedemeyer appointed a board 
which included representatives of G-l, G-2, G-3, G-5, and Navy Group, 
China, with G-5 as chairman. On 22 August the board reported: 

1. That no satisfactory evidence had been presented that Naval Group, China, personnel 
has been employed with Central Government or loyal patriotic troops against the Com- 
munists. However, the possibility exists, that they may be used in engagements if the 
Communists interfered with operations of the units against the Japanese. 

2. That American equipment has been used at least defensively against the Communists. 

3. That equipment has been furnished under other than lend-lease procedures; that no 
adequate records now exist of transfers made. . . , 29 



28 Ltr, Wedemeyer to Mao, 29 Jul 45. Tab III, Item 5, History of Dixie Mission. 

29 (1) Maj Martin F. Sullivan, G-5 Sec, USFCT, History of the Clandestine Branch, 15 Nov 
45. OCMH. (2) Rad, Hurley to Secy State, 12 Jun 45. Item 12, Bk 3, Hurley Files. 



386 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



The Chinese Reoccupy Their Land 

As the Japanese forces in China proceeded to concentrate in the north 
China plain, and yield their holdings in south and central China, the Chinese 
troops began to flow into the vacuum created by the Japanese withdrawal. 
In north-central China, toward Lao-ho-kou and Hsian, the Chinese of the 
I War Area found themselves on the edge of the zone the Japanese meant 
to hold. The city of Hsi Hsia K'ou was the center of activity as Chinese 
units under one of the more capable and aggressive commanders and Japa- 
nese who intended to stay feinted, sparred, and occassionally clashed all 
during June and into July. By then the American liaison teams sent to the 
area during the Japanese drive on Lao-ho-kou were ready with training pro- 
grams. Activity stopped as both sides broke contact— the Chinese to reor- 
ganize and train four armies, the Japanese content to hold. 30 

In central China, the Chinese had ended the Chihchiang campaign in 
contact with Japanese forces along the precampaign line Pao-ching-Hsin- 
ning. During June there were skirmishes around obscure little villages, as 
the victorious Chinese, from regiments freed of training schedules, kept 
touch with the Japanese. The skirmishes were patrol actions, village fight- 
ing, outpost clashes, but that they were taking place with the Chinese attack- 
ing showed how much the quality of the XXIV Group Army had improved 
over that of previous years. In late July General Wang's men were ready 
to make the diversionary attacks called for by Rashness. Two regiments 
of the 58th Division supported by a battalion of artillery retook Hsin-ning 
on 5 August, killing and capturing 100 Japanese. In this area, since it 
shielded the railway route north out of Kwangsi and Kweichow, the Japa- 
nese were obliged to hold, and only began falling back as the first week of 
August ended. 31 

The most extensive Japanese troop movements came in south China as 
the divisions there moved up the railway line toward Hankow and on to 
north China. The American liaison troops with the Chinese of the II and 
III Group Army commands did not believe that Chinese pressure was forc- 
ing the Japanese to withdraw, though they noted that Chinese communiques 
spoke of heavy fighting and Chinese victories after pitched battles. The 
historian of the Chinese Combat Command called it: 

... in no sense a combat operation similar to the Chihchiang defensive. It can bet- 
ter be understood as a Japanese troop movement, largely unopposed. Having decided 
to withdraw, the Japanese forces did withdraw in a leisurely and ordered manner. Chinese 
forces, unwilling to engage in, and unable to see any reason for, costly combat opera- 
tions, followed closely but carefully. What righting did occur was largely a matter of 

30 History of China Theater, Ch. X, pp. 4-10. 

31 Ibid., pp. 15-19. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



387 



rear-guard patrol action. There were cases of Japanese platoons holding up Chinese regi- 
ments or divisions for several days or longer. 32 

The Japanese withdrawals of June 1945 from south China funneled 
through Liuchow. From Ho-chih on the west and the island of Hainan on 
the east, Japanese brigades and divisions slowly moved north. The forces 
retreating from Ho-chih turned on their pursuers at I-shan, perhaps to give 
units to the east time to clear the Liuchow bottleneck area. After taking 
I-shan on 10 June the Chinese were driven out the next day. The Japanese 
held it three days, then began moving east again. The Chinese followed 
after. 

From Nanning, the Japanese retreated to Ta-tang, twenty-five miles south- 
west of Liuchow. They had to hold Ta-tang so that Ho-chih units could 
clear the area, and hold they did until late June. To occupy the Liuchow 
area the Chinese used the 29th Army plus the 175th Division of the 46th. 
By 22 June American liaison men could report that the city was on fire, a 
sure sign of imminent evacuation. Japanese resistance was limited to ac- 
tivity by isolated riflemen. The Chinese moved cautiously through them 
onto the outskirts of the former American base, now important to support 
of Rashness. The airfield was taken on the 26th, and by 1 July the Chinese 
had complete possession of Liuchow. The Japanese had had ample time 
for demolitions; the city was 60 percent burned and the airfield had thirty 
to forty large craters in the runway. 

The Japanese retreat over the ninety miles to Kweilin paralleled that to 
Liuchow. Rear guards held off the Chinese while transport troops moved 
out equipment and demolition squads made ready to destroy utilities and 
bridges. North of Kweilin, however, the picture was different in that Gen - 
eral Tang En-po's III Army Group command during July tried to cut the 
Japanese avenue of retreat to Heng-yang. One division from each of four 
armies was used. The Japanese defenses seem to have been on the reverse 
crests of the hills and ridges to the west of the route north. The Chinese 
attacked along a line all the way from I-ning just west of Kweilin to 
Chai-hsu, fifty miles north. The Japanese held stubbornly. The road net 
was notably poor, and lack of ammunition forced the Chinese 26th Division 
to fall back on one occasion. 

By 26 July more Chinese from General Tang's army were up to the bat- 
tle area, and an attack on Kweilin was possible. The CCC did not think 
that the Japanese would make a stand for Kweilin. Two Japanese divisions 
plus two brigades were believed to have cleared the area by the 26th. Next 
day, I-ning fell, and shortly after, Yung-fu, thirty miles south of Kweilin. 
Three days later the Chinese had taken Yung-fu, had covered the thirty 
miles, and were in Kweilin's southern suburbs. Soon after, the Japanese 

52 History of Chinese Combat Command, p. 11. OCMH. 



388 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 




Liuchow Airstrip as it looked when Chinese troops recaptured the airfield. Note large 
craters in runway. 

rear guards were pushed out of Kweilin, and as August began, the city was 
Chinese again. Except for Canton and Hong Kong, the biggest Japanese 
bases in south China had been relinquished by the Japanese. It was time 
to take Fort Bayard." 

What Are the Problems of a Sudden Peace? 

Hints that events in the Pacific might be outstripping the course of the 
experiment in Sino- American co-operation to build a better Chinese Army, 
an experiment that had been under way intermittently since October 1941 
when the American Military Mission to China began work, appeared in 
July. There were peace rumors. In distorted form, they possibly reflected 
happenings within Japan, where on 20 June the Emperor Hirohito moVed 
to cut through the tangle of Japanese politics and personalities by inquiring 
about plans to end the war. The B-29's were devastating great areas of 
Japan's large cities, and her air defenses could not cope with these attacks. 
Japan's Navy was now grounded, camouflaged hulks, suitable for antiaircraft 

33 History of China Theater, Ch. X, pp. 32-34. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



389 




Returning to Liuchow 1 July 1943, Chinese troops find the city virtually destroyed 
by the Japanese. 

batteries only. The Americans firmly gripped Okinawa and Iwo Jima, close 
to Japan's shores. The merchant navy was reduced to a few hundred thou- 
sand tons, and the specter of economic paralysis loomed. The Japanese 
Army was intact, however, and many of its leaders pinned their hopes on 
one great and bloody battle on Japanese soil after which the Americans 
might offer terms. 

The Emperor's intervention was a plain indication of the Imperial will, 
which under the Japanese constitution could at times have decisive power. 
Then came the conference at Potsdam in July 1945 between the Soviet 
Union, the British Commonwealth, and the United States, as a result of 
which there came what in effect were terms to the Japanese, with a threat of 
grievous harm if they were not accepted. The United States understood that 
the Japanese declined them. However, the highest military authorities in 
the United States now believed that Japanese surrender might not be long 
delayed. On 30 July Marshall for the Joint Chiefs told Wedemeyer, 
MacArthur, and Nimitz that co-ordination of plans to be followed in event 
of Japanese surrender was a pressing necessity. The Joint Chiefs thought it 
highly desirable to occupy key ports in Asia in this priority: Shanghai, 
Pusan, Chefoo, and Chin-huang-tao. The radio went on: "The Joint Chiefs 



390 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



of Staff do not desire to become involved in the campaign in China on the 
mainland other than by air, but it is considered highly desirable to seize the 
ports in order better to facilitate the reoccupation of the country by Chinese 
forces." 34 

Wedemeyer had no illusions about the impact of a sudden peace on 
events in China. Not only were there the big problems of China, but there 
were also disturbing minor discords. There had been an increasing number 
of incidents between Americans and Chinese. These had been called to the 
Generalissimo's attention, with a note saying that there had been a steady 
growth in Chinese depredations on U.S. installations in China, and that 
local Chinese military and civil authorities had been most un-co-operative. 
Shootings, stabbings, affrays had occurred. Two U.S. soldiers had been 
killed by troops of the 30th Division. Moreover, there were morale prob- 
lems among the Americans. Col. B. J. Birk, CCC surgeon, wrote to 
McClure on 24 July that morale in the CCC was "very low." He listed five 
reasons, ranging from prolonged service overseas to a "general feeling by 
the personnel that their efforts are futile." Across the letter McClure wrote: 
"C/S See if we can raise morale. R B McC" 35 

So, concluding a very long survey of the current picture for General 
Marshall, Wedemeyer wrote on 1 August: 

We are striving to prepare for any eventuality reference Japanese capitulation — early 
and sudden peace, righting for the next few months,, and even an extended period of war. 
Frankly, if peace should come within the next few weeks we will be woefully unprepared 
in China. On the American side we could handle our own unilateral personnel and prop- 
erty interests but many of our activities are inextricably tied in with the Chinese, and, if 
peace comes suddenly, it is reasonable to expect widespread confusion and disorder. The 
Chinese have no plan for rehabilitation, prevention of epidemics, restoration of utilities, 
establishment of balanced economy and redisposition of millions of refugees. On the 
China Theater staff we have one U.S. military government officer, a Lieutenant Colonel 
Dobson, who at present is conducting a school in Chungking, teaching selected Chinese 
civilian officials the functions of civil affairs. This school has been established one week. 
I have emphasized to the Generalissimo the necessity for advanced planning in connec- 
tion with the problems and he has issued instructions to his ministries. However, I am 
not optimistic about the results to be attained, if my experience with the military officials 
can be taken as a criterion. When in Washington last February I was informed that the 
United States would not become involved in the operation of civil affairs in China sub- 
sequent to Japanese surrender. We may be unavoidably drawn in as advisors to Chinese 
officials in a status analogous to that of Americans at present with Chinese military 

34 (1) USSBS, Japan's Struggle To End the War (Washington, 1946). (2) Rad WAR 
40831, Marshall to MacArthur and Nimitz for action, info Wedemeyer, 30 Jul 45. Item 1000A, 
Bk 5, ACW Personal File. 

35 (1) Memo 640-19, Wedemeyer to Generalissimo, 15 Jul 45. Bk 8, Wedemeyer Corresp 
with Chinese. (2) Memorandum 651-7, Maddocks to Generalissimo, 20 July 1945, in the same 
file, summarizes a number of these incidents. (3) Min, Combined Staff Mtg 73, CCC 
and Chinese Supreme Hq, 3 Aug 45. China Theater Files, KCRC. (4) Ltr, Col Birk to 
McClure, 24 Jul 45. OCMH. This is the original. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



391 



forces. I am sure that you will agree that we should assist the Chinese in that manner 
to reestablish a modicum of order and normalcy. 36 

In accord with the JCS views on assisting Nationalist reoccupation of 
Japanese-held China, and with another request from Marshall for data on 
the Chinese attitude, Wedemeyer spent 31 July conferring with the Gen- 
eralissimo and Soong. In the course of these discussions the Generalissimo 
made it clear that if American troops from the Pacific landed in China they 
must not be commanded by Stilwell. This was a major point to Soong and 
the Generalissimo, who stated their objections strongly, basing them on a 
clash of personalities and the need for a commander who had what they 
called "unity of spirit" with the Chinese. The Generalissimo agreed with 
the JCS that Pusan in Korea should be second only to Shanghai in priority 
of occupation, for in his opinion this would facilitate Chinese control of 
Korea before the Russians could establish themselves, and would forestall a 
Communist Korean Government. As for Chinese ports, the Generalissimo 
wanted U.S. troops landed there at once to hold them until Central Gov- 
ernment forces could be flown in. 

For his part, Wedemeyer warned the Generalissimo that lend-lease from 
the United States would stop. He had authority from the War Department 
to equip thirty-nine divisions, of which twenty now had 80 percent of their 
full Tables of Equipment. He did not list a Korean port among fhose to be 
occupied, nor did he, if the minutes are correct, react to the Generalissimo's 
suggestion that China occupy Korea. Wedemeyer agreed to do his best to 
fly in the Central Government forces, and hoped that occupation of a port 
would improve his capabilities. So far as possible, U.S. forces would not 
collaborate with the Communists. When the Generalissimo suggested that 
reluctant Japanese might be a problem requiring more lend-lease, Wede- 
meyer agreed and said he did not think there would be difficulty over lend- 
lease. He cautioned the Chinese to pay attention to the problems of civil 
affairs in reoccupied territory, for he did not think they were seriously aware 
of them. When the discussion ended, Wedemeyer agreed with the Gen- 
eralissimo that ports should be occupied in this priority: Shanghai, Pusan, 
Taku, Canton, and Tsingtao.^ 

Reporting on this meeting, Wedemeyer said that the Generalissimo's 
comments on Stilwell were the first suggestion he had heard that the Chinese 
Army and people did not like Stilwell. Wedemeyer recommended that any 
U.S. forces landing in China be placed under his own command, that they 
seize ports to facilitate Nationalist redeployment, and that they avoid col - 
laboration with any forces opposing the Central Government. The Chinese 

36 Ltr, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 1 Aug 45. Case 6l, OPD 319.1, Sec II. 

37 Min, Mtg 68 A, Wedemeyer with Generalissimo, Soong, and Hurley, 31 Jul 45. Bk 1, 
Generalissimo Minutes. 



392 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



needed help in redeployment, and were worried about internal problems. 
He closed with the warning: "Unless and until Central Government troops 
are [disposed] so that they can control communications, ports, financial and 
food centers it would be unsound to plan upon realistic Chinese assistance 
in the disarmament, demobilization, and deportation of Japanese forces on 
the Asiatic mainland." 38 

Events in the Pacific Overtake CARBONADO 

Meanwhile, in the field and at the planners' desks, final preparations were 
being made to take Fort Bayard. Last-minute co-ordination on the inter- 
theater level was achieved through a conference at Guam on 6 August be- 
tween representatives of China Theater, the Pacific theaters, and the War 
Department. General Simpson and General Boatner, of the CCC, plus key 
staff officers of Wedemeyer's headquarters, were present for China Theater. 
Obtaining naval service elements such as a barge pool and a construction 
battalion (stevedore) was discussed. Convoy lists were set up and naval 
protection by escort carriers and destroyer escorts arranged. The hydro- 
graphic features of Fort Bayard were analyzed. These were the quiet, un- 
spectacular, earnest discussions of technical matters that must precede an 
amphibious operation. The conference adjourned; co-ordination was effected. 

Within China, the final operational planning was done between the 
CCC, Tactical Headquarters, and theater G-3. Examining reports from the 
field, these agencies concluded that the Japanese had reduced their garrison 
on Liuchow Peninsula, at whose base was Fort Bayard, to some 6,500 men. 
Offshore, on Hainan, were 8,000 more. Three Japanese divisions and one 
independent mixed brigade in Indochina could intervene but this did not 
appear likely. However, these were formidable Japanese forces to oppose 
Chang's men. The risk was accepted in the belief that the Japanese supply 
situation did not permit the enemy to offer sustained resistance or to rein- 
force heavily. According to the Japanese postwar studies, the area garrison, 
far from being 6,500 strong, consisted of two battalions that were engaged 
in withdrawing on Canton. 39 

Prepared in June, the initial plans for the advance on Fort Bayard called 
for the drive to be made by the Chinese 46th Army after it had occupied 
Liuchow. General Wedemeyer could not approve the plan because the War 
Department planned to have three Liberty ships arrive at Fort Bayard 15 
August; planning had to be based on that. Because this target date had 
to be met, Wedemeyer made a significant modification in the original con- 
cept of the operation by permitting use of the Alpha divisions, among them 

38 Rad CFB 2305, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 1 Aug 45. Item 1001, Bk 5, ACW Personal File. 

39 Japanese Study 129, Map 6. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



393 



the elite New 1st Army. Given these resources, McClure estimated that on 
the basis of Chinese capabilities 1 September could be D Day. This was 
unacceptable, and theater headquarters suggested that elements of the 46th 
Army be sent toward Fort Bayard without waiting for the completion of 
operations around Liuchow. That city fell 1 July, releasing troops for the 
drive on Fort Bayard. 

Perhaps as a result of these difficulties responsibility for making the op- 
erational plans was taken from CCC and given to General Weart's Tactical 
Headquarters on 17 July. Weart's later plans accepted the idea of an ad- 
vance on Fort Bayard prior to Liuchow's fall, and events moved accordingly. 
In mid-July units of the 46th Army began moving toward the coast. The 
New 1st Army, being flown back to China, was to land at Nanning in east 
China rather than at Chanyi. By 26 July the 38th Division and army head- 
quarters had landed at Nanning, about 200 miles west of Fort Bayard. 
Meanwhile, to help provide air cover for the Bayard operation, the 13th 
Army was en route to seize the Tanchuk airstrip, halfway between Liuchow 
and the coast. OSS groups had taken high ground overlooking the airfield 
on 3 July but lost it to a Japanese counterattack. In the next attempt, on 
or about 26 July, a regiment of the 89th Division took the heights and fol- 
lowed that success next day by taking the field. The town itself was occu- 
pied 5 August, and so that part of the Fort Bayard operation was 
successfully completed. 

From Liuchow the 46th Army advanced steadily eastward. Not till 
3 August did it meet the Japanese near Sui-chi, about twenty miles west of 
Fort Bayard. The Japanese reacted aggressively, attacking the right flank of 
the New 19th Division. The Chinese were present in too great strength, 
for the 175th and 188th Divisions came up and simply bypassed this Japanese 
concentration. The weather turned bad, hampering air supply, and the pace 
of the Chinese advance slowed. Then came the stunning news on 6 August 
that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Japan. Two days later the Soviet 
Union announced that it was entering the war on 9 August. These devel- 
opments suggested to theater planners that the war might be ending, and 
the attack on Fort Bayard was halted to await developments. They were 
not long in coming. 40 

At 1845 Washington time, on 10 August, the State Department acknowl- 
edged receipt of a Japanese offer to accept the Potsdam terms, without preju- 
dice to the Emperor's position. On that same day Wedemeyer received his 
first postwar directive, written in terms that confronted him with a dilemma 
he quickly recognized. The directive's architects prefaced its operative para- 
graphs by telling Wedemeyer that the directive "supplements" the 24 Oc- 



(1) History of China Theater, Ch. II. (2) Bowman comments on draft MS. 



394 



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tober 1944 directive, thus leaving intact his mission of advising and assisting 
the Generalissimo, then added a warning: "b. All of its provisions apply 
insofar as action in accordance therewith does not prejudice the basic U.S. 
principle that the United States will not support the Central Government 
of China in fratricidal war." 41 

Wedemeyer was told that help from MacArthur and Nimitz would be 
given to obtain control of key ports and communication centers in China, 
though there was no intent of involving U.S. troops in any major land cam- 
paign in China. When these supporting troops entered China, they would 
come under his command, and it would be his task to co-ordinate opera- 
tions with the Generalissimo. The Generalissimo would have jurisdiction 
over the process of Japanese surrender in China, "except for any points such 
as Hong Kong, of which the status is in question. . . ." If through military 
necessity any Japanese forces surrendered to the Americans they would be 
turned over to the Central Government subject to assurance of satisfactory 
treatment from the Chinese. Wedemeyer would assist the Central Govern- 
ment in rapidly moving its forces to key areas in China, and would continue 
the necessary support which had become a normal adjunct to his mission. 42 

To Wedemeyer, completely cognizant of the menacing and complex 
problems emerging in the wake of war in China, this directive must have 
seemed a not very helpful guide, for in the second week of August he sought 
to persuade his superiors to transfer at least some of their attention from 
Japan to China. His radios to General Marshall give unmistakable expres- 
sion to a fear that the United States would lose the rewards of victory if it 
did not take vigorous action in China. The background to his warnings 
was his recognition that the U.S.-sponsored divisions were not yet ready to 
maintain public order in China, that the Nationalists could not stand alone. 
Many years had passed before rebuilding the Chinese forces within China 
received first priority from the Chinese and American governments; the lost 
years were now exacting their price in the unreadiness of the Central Gov- 
ernment to re-establish its authority in its own country. 

On China's part, the Generalissimo through Wedemeyer told the United 
States that he was anxious to obtain American aid in disarming and de- 
mobilizing the Japanese forces in China. He envisioned three occupational 
areas, centering on Nanking, Peiping, and Canton, with Americans as chiefs 
of staff to the Chinese area commanders. Five American divisions -were re- 
quested, two for the Taku area of north China, two for Shanghai, and one 
for Canton. He also remarked that at Cairo in December 1943 President 
Roosevelt had promised to equip ninety Chinese Divisions. 

41 Rad, WARX 47513, JCS to Wedemeyer, info MacArthur, Nimitz, Spaatz, and Wheeler, 
10 Aug 45. ACW Personal File. 

42 Ibid. 



THE END OF WEDEMEYER'S EXPERIMENT 



395 



Wedemeyer underscored the Generalissimo's appeal with the blunt cau- 
tion that the U.S. Government might be failing to appreciate "the explosive 
and portentous possibilities in China when Japan surrenders." He saw little 
possibility of trouble in Japan proper, but two major dangers on the main- 
land, that the Chinese Communists might begin civil war and that the 
Japanese forces might refuse to surrender. He urged that two U.S. divisions 
be sent to Shanghai, one to Taku, and a regiment to Canton, that high 
priority be given to occupation of Chinese seaports, and that the Japanese 
be instructed to surrender only to the Chinese Nationalists, never to the 
Communists (who now asserted that right). 43 

The War Department's initial responses to Wedemeyer's warnings and 
questions indicate that the United States had not settled on what was to be 
its postwar role in China. The messages came in piecemeal fashion, answer- 
ing now one and now another of his operational queries but remaining silent 
on the great problems of Asia which he raised so urgently. His initial direc- 
tive was a contradiction in terms, for it told him to continue his support of 
the Chinese Nationalists, then ordered him not to support them if they 
engaged in civil war. To this, Wedemeyer replied that on 19 August he was 
engaged in transporting Chinese troops to the key areas of China that they 
might be secured and the Japanese disarmed. This support could be con- 
strued as a deceptive maneuver, to give the Nationalists an advantage over 
the Communists, and the foreign correspondents were beginning to press him 
hard on just that line. 

In its other messages, of 7 and 14 August, the Department warned him 
that he would receive only two divisions, and these would arrive in sections 
as shipping became available. He was directed as his first task to secure the 
key areas of China — the order so difficult to square with one part of his di- 
rective, however well it matched the other— and further told that when the 
situation firmed he should discuss this mission with General MacArthur. A 
personal "eyes alone" radio from General Marshall suggested that the Chief 
of Staff did not share Wedemeyer's fears in regard to Asia for it dealt only 
with Marshall's fears that the Japanese might be so afraid of both Chinese 
vengeance and administrative ineptitude that they would not yield. 

Immediately after Wedemeyer's warnings China Theater took a step 
which foreshadowed a serious and self-imposed limitation on what the Amer- 
icans might do in China, for on 22 August 1945 all training under American 
supervision was "suspended," probably because the units concerned had to 
take part in reoccupying Japanese-held China. This meant the dismantling 
of the elaborate apparatus of liaison and operational control, advice, and 
assistance that Wedemeyer had erected on the foundation laid by Stilwell. 

4 ' (1) Rad CFB 4317, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 11 Aug 45, Item 1047, Bk 5; (2) Rad CFBX 
4352, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 12 Aug 45, Item 1045. ACW Personal File. 



396 



TIME RUNS OUT IN CBI 



Thenceforth, the armies of the Central Government were increasingly on 
their own, though they had not been brought to the standard Wedemeyer 
contemplated. 44 

In the midst of these exchanges, the drive on Fort Bayard was halted 12 
August by the War Department, to await developments, and active hostilities 
ended 14 August 1945. The soldiers who ran cheering into the streets, the 
Chinese civilians who offered incense and set off firecrackers, the Americans 
at home who shouted and wept and danced and prayed were all spared fore- 
knowledge that in the future the day they celebrated would mark not the 
end of the twentieth century drama of conflict between Pacific powers but 
the end only of an act. The curtain was to rise again. 

44 (1) Formal Historical Record, for the Period 29 Jan 45-1 Sep 45, Prep for Gen King, Hq 
IV Gp Army Comd CCC USFCT, 1 Sep 45. OCMH. (2) Rad, CFB 4082, Wedemeyer to 
Marshall, 9 Aug 45, Item 1034, Bk 5; (3) Rad, WARX 47945, JCS to Wedemeyer, 11 Aug 45, 
Item 1044; (4) Rad, CFBX 4352, Wedemeyer to Marshall, 12 Aug 45, Item 1045; (5) Rad, 
WAR 48661, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 12 Aug 45, Item 1064; (6) Rad, WAR 49574, Marshall 
to Wedemeyer, 14 Aug 45, Item 1075; (7) Rad, WAR 49550, Marshall to Wedemeyer, 14 Aug 
45, Item 1080. All in ACW Personal File. 



Bibliographical Note 



The manuscript of this volume was basically completed in 1954 and its con- 
tent reflects sources available at that time. These sources fall in three cate- 
gories: official records, collections of private papers, and published works. 

Official Records 

Official records are the principal source of information for this volume.* 

(1) The major U.S. Army documentary sources used in the writing 
of this volume are to be found in two of The Adjutant General's records de- 
positories—one in Alexandria, Virginia (the Special Records Branch), and the 
other in Kansas City, Missouri (the Kansas City Records Center). Between 
them these two depositories have those minutes, correspondence, and staff 
studies of the Combined and Joint Chiefs of Staff that are contained in the 
records of the War Department General Staff (mainly, the Office of the Chief 
of Staff and the War Plans Division/Operations Division) ; the war diaries of 
the Southeast Asia Command; and the records of the United States Forces in 
the China Theater (including the General Joseph Stilwell's Radio File, 1942- 
44) and the United States Forces in the India-Burma Theater and their sub- 
ordinate commands. Of particular value were the Wedemeyer Files among 
the records of the United States Forces in the China Theater, including mes- 
sages for the period 1944-45 and minutes of General Wedemeyer's confer- 
ences with the Generalissimo, a collection of Wedemeyer correspondence lo- 
cated with the records of the China Service Command, files of the Northern 
Combat Area Command containing documentation on the fighting in North 
Burma, and records of the Chinese Combat Command and Y-Force, subor- 
dinate commands of the United States Forces in the China Theater. 

(2) U.S. Army radiograms will be found either in the Staff Communica- 
tions Office, Office of the Chief of Staff, Department of the Army, or in files 
of India-Burma and China Theaters and their subordinate commands. Lo- 
cation of the latter radios is shown in the footnotes. Messages sent and 
received through Staff Communications are identified according to their local 
reference numbers and date, or by the CM-IN and CM-OUT numbers. 
Messages sent and received through theater agencies are identified by the call 

*The date of each document is determined by the time zone at the point of origin; the exception 
is classified messages, which are dated upon receipt in Washington. 



398 



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letters of their several headquarters, for example, CAK, CRA, CFB, and 
CHC. 

(3) A variety of miscellaneous records was collected by the Historical 
Sections of India-Burma and China Theaters. Among records is a collec- 
tion of papers on the Dixie Mission, the U.S. Observer Group in Yenan. 
These are cited as History of Dixie Mission and are located in the Office of 
the Chief of Military History. 

(4) An account of Japanese operations and strategy, prepared by former 
Japanese officers, is found in the monographs cited as Japanese Studies in 
World War II. These monographs were prepared under the auspices of the 
G-2 Historical Section, U.S. Far Eastern Command, and translated by the 
Allied Translation and Interrogation Section (ATIS), Headquarters, Supreme 
Commander for the Allied Powers. Most of the directives and orders issued 
by Japanese Imperial General Headquarters are in volumes entitled Imperial 
General Headquarters Army Directives or Orders. They were compiled by the 
Military Historical Division, Military Intelligence Section, General Head- 
quarters, Far East Command. Copies of the Japanese records are in the pos- 
session of OCMH. 

The SEATIC Bulletins, prepared by the Southeast Asia Translation and 
Interrogation Center of SEAC, are based on interrogation of senior officers 
and staff members of Burma Area Army and its principal subordinate head- 
quarters. 

Thanks to Col. Preston J. C. Murphy, Chief, Military History Section, 
Special Staff, Far East Command, it was possible to obtain the comments of 
a number of former Japanese officers and their responses to inquiries framed 
by the authors. These recollections, which are on file in OCMH, offer inter- 
esting material on Sino-Japanese relations, 1944-45, and the war in China. 
Col. Susumu Nishiura, Chief Historian, Japanese Self-defense Forces, com- 
mented at length on the manuscript. 

(5) Manuscript histories, prepared during or after the war, were drawn 
on extensively in preparation of this volume, far more so than in the case of 
the two earlier volumes in the CBI subseries. By the summer of 1945, 
India-Burma Theater and China Theater headquarters had fully staffed His- 
torical Sections, which attempted to write narrative histories according to 
professional standards of research and documentation. Col. Harry L. May- 
field, of the India-Burma Theater, was responsible for the successful comple- 
tion of manuscript histories of the Services of Supply in India-Burma, 1944- 
45, of the India-Burma Theater 1944-45 (two volumes), of the India-Burma 
Theater 1945-46 (three volumes), of the History of Combat in India-Burma 
Theater, and of the Northern Combat Area Command (three volumes). The 
volumes are extensively documented and are a rich source of material on the 
India-Burma Theater in its last eighteen months. Those portions of the 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



399 



present volume which cover the India-Burma Theater are in a sense the final 
product of Colonel Mayfield's section, of which Riley Sunderland was a mem- 
ber. Copies of these manuscripts are currently in the possession of OCMH. 
In China Theater, Capt. Fenton Keyes, Chief, Historical Section, aided by a 
small staff, wrote a manuscript history of the China Theater. Much of the 
portions of the present volume dealing with China Theater is based on this 
staff's work, supplemented by the Wedemeyer material which was not then 
available to it. 

The History of Northern Area Combat Command was begun by Capt. 
Edward Fisher while he was an officer of the NCAC staff and was completed 
by him at theater headquarters in New Delhi. Like all the wartime manu- 
scripts, it is a first draft but is of great importance as a source on the North 
Burma Campaign. It included a great number of appendixes, many with 
original material. The Operational Record of Eleventh Army Group and 
ALFSEA, November 1943- August 1945, distributed by the British War 
Office, is a terse but comprehensive account of the fighting in Burma. 

Information on collateral activities can be found in the manuscript U.S. 
Army Medical Service in Combat in India and Burma, 1942-1945, by Dr. 
James H. Stone; History of the Ramgarh Training Center, 30 June 1942-15 
May 1945; History of the First Provisional Tank Group; U.S. Army Trans- 
portation in China, Burma, India during World War II, by Joseph Bykofsky. 
These manuscripts are in the possession of OCMH. Background informa- 
tion on the state of the Chinese economy in 1944 can be found in Economic 
Conditions in Free China and Their Effect on Army Procurement, January 
1945, which is Inclosure 4, Appendix E, to the manuscript, History of Ad- 
vance Section No. 1 (SOS in China), History of the Services of Supply in 
China-Burma-India, 1942-1944, in OCMH. 

Air Force operations are described in Despatch on Air Operations in East- 
ern Air Command (SEA) Covering the Period 15 December 1943 to 1 June 
1945, a record prepared for Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer; Fourteenth Air 
Force Annual Summary, 1944; Growth, Development, and Operating Proce- 
dures of Air Supply and Evacuation System, NCAC Front, Burma Campaign, 
1943-1945, prepared by the Military Observer Group, New Delhi, India. 
With the exception of the Fourteenth Air Force Annual Summary, 1944, 
which is now in the U.S. Air Force Historical Division, Air University Li- 
brary, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, the above manuscript histories are 
in the custody of OCMH. 

Collections of Private Papers 

To a lesser degree than in Volumes I and II of this subseries, this volume 
has drawn on private papers. These include: (1) collections of personal 
papers; (2) diaries; (3) letters and inclosures. 



400 



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Personal Papers. Information on the CBI Theater before Wedemeyer and 
Sultan assumed command is to be found in the records of General Joseph 
W. Stilwell, in the Hoover Library, Palo Alto, California, described at length 
in the bibliographical notes to the earlier volumes of this subseries. 

The personal papers of Maj. Gen. Patrick J. Hurley, U.S.A., Ret., are a 
rich source of information on the higher-level military and diplomatic aspects 
of China Theater from October 1944 to the spring of 1946. General Hurley 
was most systematic in preserving his papers, and the greater part of them 
is bound in folders (referred to as books in the footnotes), with individual 
items numbered within the folder. Currently the papers are in General Hur- 
ley's custody. Extensive notes on the Hurley papers, taken by Romanus and 
Sunderland, are in OCMH. 

Diaries. The notebook kept by Brig. Gen. Earnest F. Easterbrook to 
record official matters that came to his attention as regimental commander is 
like a diary, though completely impersonal. General Easterbrook also per- 
mitted use of his situation maps. 

Letters. The Office of the Chief of Military History has a number of let- 
ters from participants in events in India-Burma and China Theaters. They 
contain comment and criticism on draft manuscripts of the volumes in this 
subseries that are a valuable source of retrospective information. Of greatest 
interest is the file marked HIS 330.14, 1947-1957. 

Published Works 

Leahy, William D. / Was There: The Personal Story of the Chief of Staff to Presidents 
Roosevelt and Truman Based on His Notes and Diaries Made at the Time. New York: 
Whittlesey House, 1950. 

Sherwood, Robert E. Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History. New York: Harper 
& Brothers, 1948. 

Stimson, Henry L., and McGeorge Bundy. On Active Service in Peace and War. New 
York: Harper & Brothers, 1948. 

United States Congress. Hearings of the Committee on Armed Services and the Com- 
mittee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, on the Military Situation in the Fur 
East. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951. 

United States Department of State. Foreign Relations of the United States: Diplomatic 
Papers, Department of State Publication 6199, The Conferences at Malta and Yalta. 1945, 
P;:rts I and II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1955. 

. United States Relations with China: With Special Reference to the Period 1944- 

1949. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1949. 

Background on the Chinese Army in Burma, Chinese political thinking, 
and philosophy may be found in: 

Ho Yung-chi. The Big Circle. New York: The Exposition Press, 1948. 
On more strictly military matters are: 

Field, James A. Jr. The Japanese at Leyte Gulf the SHO Operation. Princeton: Prince- 
ton University Press, 1947. 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 



401 



Military History Section, Special Stafl, General Headquarters, Far East Command. The 
Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II, 1952. 

Ramgarb: Now It Can Be Told. Ranchi, Indi;;, 1945. 
Roberts, Brig. M. R., DSO. Golden Arrow (Aldershot, 1952). 

Report and Supplement for Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Supreme Allied Com- 
mander, South-East Asia, 1943-1946, Vice- Admiral Viscount Mountbatten of Burma. New 
Delhi, India, July 30, 1947. 

Romanus, Charles F., and Riley Sunderland. Stilwell's Mission to China and Stilwell's 
Command Problems. UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II. Washington: 
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1953 and 1956. 

Craven, Wesley Frank, and James Lea Cate, eds. 'The Army Air Tones in World War 
II: IV, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944. Chicago: The Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, 1950. 

. The Army Air Forces in World War II: V, The Pacific: MA TTERHORN to 

Nagasaki. June 1944 to August 1945. Chicago: Tne University of Chicago Press, 1953. 

Treadwell, Mattie E. The Women's Army Corps. UNITED STATES ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954. 

United States Strategic Bombing Survey. Air Operations in China, Burma, India. 
Washington: U.S. Gove